Buyer behavior can mainstream newspapers re capture the elusive young reader
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Buyer Behavior: Can mainstream newspapers re-capture the elusive “young reader”? - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Buyer Behavior: Can mainstream newspapers re-capture the elusive “young reader”?. Heather Lamm VP, Strategic Development MediaNews Group Interactive April 12, 2005 Leeds School of Business. Overview. Media consumption among young adults Implications for newspaper industry

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Buyer Behavior: Can mainstream newspapers re-capture the elusive “young reader”?

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Buyer Behavior:Can mainstream newspapers re-capture the elusive “young reader”?

Heather Lamm

VP, Strategic Development

MediaNews Group Interactive

April 12, 2005

Leeds School of Business


  • Media consumption among young adults

  • Implications for newspaper industry

  • Case Studies: Newspaper attempts to reach young readers

    • Access Atlanta (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

    • Orlando City Beat (Orlando Sentinel)

    • Red Eye (Chicago Tribune)

    • Bias (The Denver Newspaper Agency)

    • Blue (Centre Daily Times)

  • Key questions and recommended actions

Readership Trends: Declining across the population but especially among young adults

  • Generation X and Y: Born 1966-1976 and 1977-1994 and comprise almost 40% of the US population

  • Reading habits are generally fixed by age 30. Since 1972 newspapers have had progressively lower levels of regular newspaper readership among young adults

  • Forty percent of single-copy buyers are 18-34 years old; only 20 percent of subscribers are in that age group.

Not surprisingly, the Internet is gaining readers as traditional media sources lose readers

The Denver market follows the national trends

  • More than a quarter-million young adults (ages 18-35) in Denver spend at a rate of $7.7 billion annually, or $32,895 per capita.

  • Between 2001 and 2003, The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News lost 41,470 readers (17%) between the ages of 18 and 35.

    “We are facing wave after wave of young consumers who are increasingly indifferent to print. They’re steeped in gadgetry, have money to spend, and see anywhere from 6,000-20,000 marketing messages in a single day. Getting these folks’ attention within traditional print media is tough work.

    Current core DNA products do not have the brand elasticity necessary to support a product with the authentic edge and tone needed to engage and entertain younger demographics. To move beyond the core audience, we must move beyond core products. We must create an entirely new brand.” (Denver Newspaper Agency)

Changing industry dynamics are also impacting newspaper readership

  • News aggregation

    • Google, Yahoo, etc

    • Brands of aggregators rather than newspapers

      • Other industry analogies?

  • Crisis of mainstream media credibility (and voice)

    • Jayson Blair/Steven Glass

    • Expert opinion versus the wisdom of crowds

      • The rise of blogs

    • Passive versus interactive media

      • Lecture versus conversation

  • Search capabilities

    • Finding what you want when, how and where you need (classifieds, event listings, restaurants, weather, traffic, etc)

What are the implications of these trends for newspapers?

  • Declining ad revenues

  • Declining circulation revenue

    • Unwillingness to pay for content online

  • Loss of identity as voice of community

  • Loss of local monopoly

  • Consolidation (corporate) and fragmentation (niche publications and websites)

  • Varied attempts to capture digital audience

    • Digital editions, newspaper websites, niche publications, etc


Model and focus:

  • Print insert in Thursday’s AJC + stand alone on racks + Online; free (with newspaper)

  • Entertainment focus with long lead time for events


  • Large marketing budget (for newspapers!)

  • Advertising seen as source of credibility

  • Content is ‘looser’ than newspaper but not too hip: “You guys don’t have the street cred to go that far.”


Model and focus:

  • Website (separate from Sentinel website); limited print edition; ad based business model

  • Entertainment focus with heavy promotion of drink specials, free music downloads and “O-Lens”


  • Web-centric model with heavy emphasis on Search; “we over-estimated interest in the print product.”

  • VIP card and drink specials; O-Lens and the shock squad

  • Free classified ads for merchandise under $1000.


Model and focus:

  • Separate weekday tabloid paper, 25 cents/copy, fixed inventory for advertisers; online complement

  • National and local news focus with deeper entertainment and celebrity content


  • Aggressive user feedback has led to distinct personality and voice

  • Paid model/honor boxes

  • Advertising seen as credibility

  • Cross promotion with other Tribune properties

Bias - Denver Newspaper Agency

Model and Focus:

  • Bi-weekly, 24-to-32-page stand alone edition + online site + events/promotions

  • Distributed free to key nightlife, student and commuter zones in downtown area

  • Voice: “the sound of young adults taking on life, love and work; confessional, topical and satirical”

    Differentiation: (pre-launch)

  • “Sometimes it’s a hip magazine. Sometimes it’s an online forum. Sometimes it’s a daring promotion. It’s always a total P2P marketing vehicle. But it’s never boring.”

Blue - State College, PA

Model and focus:

  • 5 days/week print edition with website complement; primary goal of driving readers to Centre Daily Times

  • Content confusion - no clear focus but too much sex and profanity?

  • Distribution confusion- Wrapped around CDT at first, tabloid later

  • Website confusion - Five minute blue?


  • ???

Buyer behavior and news

  • Consumer behavior

    • Whatis driving the shift of consumer consumption of news?

    • What determines where and how people consume their news?

      • Is the decision-making process different for younger readers?

  • Content and medium

    • Is changing consumer behavior making news “objectivity” impossible or undesirable?

    • Did newspapers drive young readers away or did young readers respond to and maximize the new online medium?

      • Television remote vs. cable TV vs. Tivo

  • Distribution

    • How does the shift in consumer behavior from passive to active consumption change the way content is disseminated, displayed and communicated?

      • What does that mean for the newspaper industry?

And finally…

  • What are some of your suggestions for how newspapers can recapture these young adult readers?

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