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Research shows young people read local newspapers and online news

A major new audience monitoring system has launched today which dispels the myth young people have turned their back on local publishers.

By combining print and digital audiences for local newspaper publishers, it demonstrates more than 10 million young adults - aged between 15 and 34 - are reading local news on their mobile devices, or traditional print products, every month.

And that mobile content is boosting local media's audiences by 94 per cent - with the industry now reaching 40.6m adults a month.

Newspapers (12141009)
Newspapers (12141009)

The findings come from the launch of the new cross platform audience currency Jicreg True Local.

Jicreg (Joint industry Currency for Regional Media Research) has long been established as the key method of measuring local media audiences.

Now it hopes its True Local system will paint a more accurate picture of the true size of the audiences local publishers reach.

Mercury website sport (12141398)
Mercury website sport (12141398)

The audiences are calculated using a combination of audited circulation data, enabling media agencies and advertisers to see how local media is consumed in print, mobile and desktop across Great Britain down to postcode sector level for the first time.

Jicreg chief executive Keith Donaldson said: “The new data conclusively proves what we in the industry have known for some time; the demand for highly trusted local news has increased dramatically, resulting in huge audiences for the local sector across print and digital.

“It is also very encouraging to see conclusive evidence that young people are avid consumers of local news and information, accessing local journalism created by trusted brands on their mobile phones.”

Jicreg is a joint industry currency used by all major publishers and the top 20 communication agencies in the UK. It is governed by a board of representatives from local publishers, the News Media Association (NMA), ISBA (the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers) and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA).

Jicreg logo (12141453)
Jicreg logo (12141453)

Clare O'Brien, ISBA head of media effectiveness and performance, said: “Local media provides a compelling opportunity for advertisers to precisely target consumers right down to the postcode sector level in a brand safe environment next to trusted local content created by trained journalists.

“I hope the launch of Jicreg True Local will be a catalyst for some much-needed discussion between advertisers, agencies and media owners about whether more can now be done to make the most of this important and powerful communications platform.”

Belinda Beeftink, research director, IPA, added: “Media agencies will be particularly pleased today to see both the growing cross platform audiences for local media and the large numbers of younger audiences accessing local news content through mobile.

“This demonstrates unequivocally that local news media remains highly relevant and engaging for the wide variety of audiences and that the industry should rightly be viewed as a key player in the marketing and communications landscape.”

Chairman of Local Media Works, the marketing body for the local media sector and part of the NMA, Simon Edgley, concluded: “Jicreg True Local demonstrates not only the local sector’s commitment to robust and transparent audience measurement, but also that our overall audiences are growing significantly and more consumers are engaging with their local news brands than ever before.

“It is now time for advertisers and agencies re-examine their ad spend to reassess their relationship with trusted local media platforms.”

To read more local news and sport, find out how to subscribe to the e-edition of the Rutland and Stamford Mercury.

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