National media remain key to influencing the audience

With each passing year, the readership of print media declines. Now, we do a double take when we see somebody in a café or on a train with a print version of a national newspaper. That’s hardly surprising – reading online is much more convenient and often cheaper than buying hard copies from the newsagent. The decline of print media is inevitable as the younger generation of consumers instinctively favour digital versions and, with lower circulations and higher production costs, cover prices keep increasing.

That doesn’t mean that nobody is paying attention to national media. Quite the opposite. The preferred online format is actually much more influential in building reputation, influencing perceptions and prompting a tangible response. Not only is content available 24×7 on any device, but it stays online for months or even years and continues to have an impact on the audience.

Recent Metricomm analysis across sectors from automotive to universities has repeatedly revealed that online editions of national media titles continue to engage audiences by the millions. More importantly, they are among the most influential publications for driving consumer search, website visits and other commercial objectives. These findings are grounded in statistical analysis which looks at the respective impact of all online media types, including regional, consumer and business specialist titles.

If organisations are concerned about the decline of print journalism, they shouldn’t be. In fact, with the advent of generative AI, Metricomm predicts growth in national media consumption. Consumers want reliable information from a trusted source. Notwithstanding the innate bias we all know exists in the national media, we expect to find more evidence that people seek out content from well-informed flesh and blood journalists.

The communication industry must recognise, however, that to understand the power of national media is to understand the impact of the online versions. The ability to provide concrete examples of how this content drives audience behaviour has never been more important in the strategic planning and execution of PR and marketing campaigns.