3 Stats About Traditional Media Audiences to Keep in Mind This Coming Year

December 29, 2016

Digital media tends to get the buzz these days as newer emerging platforms excite marketers and provide new possibilities for reaching audiences. But traditional media channels retain wide reach, and traditional media advertising continues to have a strong influence on consumers’ purchase decisions. In this article, we highlight 3 key stats about traditional media audiences from our latest Media Audience Demographics study.

1. 43% of the US national newspaper audience is affluent

While print newspaper ad spending has plummeted in recent years, our ad influence research indicates that – relative to reach – print advertising remains extremely influential.

One potential reason for this is that print ads are reaching high-income audiences, particularly ads placed in national newspapers.

In our analysis of Simmons Research data (based on a continuously fielded survey of roughly 25,000 US adults), we found that the audience for the average issue of a US national newspaper leans quite affluent. Specifically, 43.3% of adult readers of the average national newspaper issue have a household income (HHI) of at least $100,000, and 58.3% of the audience has an HHI of at least $75,000.

Of the six traditional media audiences we examined, national newspapers had the biggest skew towards affluent adults.

2. 45-54-year-olds are 10% more likely than the average adult to listen to terrestrial radio weekly.

While traditional TV (both broadcast and cable) veers more towards and older viewer (aligning with Nielsen figures on traditional TV consumption), terrestrial radio appears to hold its greatest appeal with middle-aged adults, with the 45-54, 35-44 and 55-64 brackets being the highest-indexing relative to the average.

As such, terrestrial radio has the strongest skew towards middle-aged adults of the various traditional media channels we analyzed.

As for traditional TV, cable’s audience clearly hasn’t “grayed” as much as broadcast. For example, while 18-24-year-olds are 22% less likely to watch broadcast TV as the average adult, they’re only 7% less likely to watch cable TV.

To be sure, there’s a fairly linear age-related trend in viewership for both cable and broadcast. But the trend is far more pronounced for the broadcast than cable audience.

3. Hispanics are 28% less likely than average to read local newspapers

Local newspapers and monthly magazines have the least diverse audiences, at least when measuring Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black representation. While we found non-Hispanic Blacks to be a little closer to the average this year than last in local newspaper readership, Hispanics trended further away from the average, with an index of just 78 relative to the average adult. As a result, despite Hispanics comprising a larger share of the adult population than non-Hispanic Blacks, these two groups make up about the same share of the local newspaper readership (11.4% and 11.3%, respectively).

In fact, while non-Hispanic Blacks over-index in national newspaper readership and cable TV viewership, Hispanics don’t seem to gravitate much to traditional media channels, under-indexing in all save for national newspaper readership, where they’re right on the average.

To reach Hispanics, online media might be a safer bet, per our study’s analysis. In particular, they gravitate to online TV programs and internet radio at above-average rates.

So there you have it. If you’re interested in more detailed stats about traditional, online and social media audiences, head on over here to get your copy of our report, which breaks down the reach and demographic composition of several major media audiences. The 56-page report, packed with 48 charts, also provides a series of cheat sheets that compare traditional, online and social channels across demographic variables so you can quickly see which are the most likely to attract the different groups.

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