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Regional newspapers #1 source of information about local businesses.

About the study

The Newspaper Works commissioned Research Now to conduct a study on local newspaper reading in regional and metropolitan Australia. The aim of the study was to better understand the roles regional newspapers play in readers’ lives, and to compare this with how the same readers use other media.

The study was conducted online from 26 November to 14 December 2015, and collected data from 1,440 newspaper readers.


  • Local newspapers three times as effective as TV in keeping consumers informed on local stores and services.
  • Newspapers outperform other media in creating awareness for new products and services.


There are strong reasons why regional newspapers are an essential part of an advertising campaign targeting audiences in regional markets, but the most important one is this:

When it comes to providing information about their local communities, especially how to find businesses and services in their area, regional newspapers outperform every other media.

This is just one of the findings from a recent study by The Newspaper Works that looked at how regional newspaper readers use media.  The aim was to gain a clear understanding of the roles different media play in their lives, and how they use regional newspapers as part of this mix.

The data shows regional newspapers play a distinctive and important role in their lives.

Readers rated regional newspaper media, in print and digital formats, as their main source of information about local stores, services and facilities, well ahead of any other media.

Some eight in 10 said their local newspaper keeps them up-to-date on businesses in the neighbourhood, more than double that of radio (30%), and three times that of catalogues (24%) and TV (22%).



Newspaper media outperform online search in driving awareness

More regional readers are introduced to new products and services by their local newspaper than any other advertising platform.


Despite the growth in online search and social media in regional Australia, readers don’t consider these to be important sources delivering information on new products and services. Only 21 per cent mentioned online search as a source of this information, while just 18 per cent indicated social media.

Readers still primarily look to their local newspaper to learn about fresh promotions offered by local retailers and keep up to date with new stores and services opening in their neighbourhood.

Why newspaper media builds top-of-mind-awareness

Advertisers want to get their message in front of prospects to create awareness, stir interest and stay top-of-mind for shoppers when they’re ready to buy.

The first objective for an advertiser is to build awareness. It’s hard to sell to consumers who don’t know about a business, or that a store is in the area.

Using advertising to build awareness is even more effective when consumers actively turn to a specific media, such as regional newspapers, to find this information.

The reason why newspapers have such a clear edge over other media at building awareness is easy to explain.

Broadcast media has limitations when providing local business information compared with newspapers. There’s only so much information that can fit in a 30 second TVC or radio commercial.

And because of the way ads are scheduled in breaks across the day, viewers can’t rely on TV ads to give them the information they’re actively looking for when they’re in the market to buy. Unless a viewer is watching at the precise moment the ad is scheduled, they miss it.

Newspapers are a more reliable source of information from a reader’s perspective. Newspapers are an “on-demand” media. Readers can read the content they want, when they choose to do so, at whatever the pace they like.

This makes it easier for readers to find an ad, and keep it or return to it later.

Newspapers, in print and online, are a superior platform for providing detailed information. They carry more content about local businesses than broadcast media, and make it easy for readers to find the information they want when it suits them.

Read Part 2 of Think Local: Regional News Media report here.
Read Part 3 of Think Local: Regional News Media report here.
Read Part 4 of Think Local: Regional News Media report here

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