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Newspapers and magazines: today's consumption


Of all forms of media, none has seen as big a decline in its traditional format than print media.

Roy Morgan's State of the Nation: Media Report has revealed that, since 1998, the reading of any major newspaper has plummeted from 84.5 per cent to 44 per cent.

But that doesn't mean Australian's aren't reading them at all. If you include print, online and apps, then 65.2 per cent of Australians are reading, up from 63.3 per cent in 2013.

And when it comes exclusively to news, these internet channels are closing the gap on television.

Over 50 per cent of Australians now get their news from the internet in some form, including 25 per cent from newspaper websites or apps.

How we consume our news

Media Precinct spoke to Sydney residents about how they got their news, with varying reactions.

"I haven't read a newspaper nor have I watched commercial TV for a really long time,” an older lady said.

"If I want to know anything I ask my son because he looks at Reddit."

Free drops of newspapers to cafes was a common theme, with many young people saying that was the only time they would read them. Outside of that, the young demographic was online exclusive. "Just at cafes when they are freely available, but I wouldn't go out and actually buy one, no," one young woman said of buying newspapers.

"We do get newspapers here every morning, so I do read them every so often," a young cafe worker said. "But I wouldn't go out and buy it myself. Technology really, everything is readily available on your phone now. It's so much easier, convenient."

The older generation still like the feel of traditional newspapers, though.

"I find it more relaxing," one woman said. "I tend to find...touching the paper and things like that, it just brings a bit of old fashioned feeling to everything."

A matter of trust

A battleground where newspapers still hold considerable sway is in the arena of trust.

With social media a veritable free-for-all, where false and fake news is a daily occurrence, the Australian public has a lack of faith in media outlets overall. Only four per cent of Aussies trust social media feeds while just three per cent trust news feed sites.

In contrast, 25 per cent of Australians trust newspapers in either their print of digital form.

"I actually tend to use social media for most of my news, which may or may not be a good thing," one young man said.

"But a lot of people would say there is more trash out there but I find that if you can curate where your sources are coming from, you can get some really good live news updates and stuff using just Facebook or Twitter."

Magazines still have a place

Magazine readership

While print newspapers are on the decline and their online equivalents are taking their place, magazines are still proving they have a market.

The Roy Morgan research showed that magazine readership has dipped from 88 per cent in 1998 to 69 per cent now, which is less than half the drop that print newspapers have had in the same period of time.

"I love a good, trashy magazine. I read them while I am on the treadmill," one young woman said.

Meanwhile, an older woman said: "Yes, definitely [ read magazines]. Mainly I like Elle magazine. I do like the interior designing magazines and things like that [too]."

About the Media Precinct

The Media Precinct is a leading Australian owned media agency known for our research and insights led by Glenda Wynyard. If you are looking for a media agency that understands how people connect with media then email today.

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