A recent study from DECODE for the World Association of Newspapers provides some very positive opportunities for newspaper companies.
The Canadian-based company polled young people in three countries (the U.S., Netherlands and Finland) and found a strong level of interest in news among youth. It concludes that parents and teachers (not peers) play a strong role in modeling traits for readership and that there are particular opportunities to reach young people when they leave home. Social networks can be allies in reaching the young reader.
But too often the newspaper content isn't relevant. Young people want more information on music and film. Politics ranks much lower. And TV is still viewed as more credible.
The message from the study is that there are options, but newspaper companies need to find ways to emphasize the strength of content across multiple platforms.
There's a fascinating study out today at the annual World Editors Forum in Sweden, commissioned by The Associated Press by Context-Based Research Group.
It's an ethnographic study, in that it looks for behaviours and desires below the surface of obvious patterns, and it studied a handful or two of young news consumers on for a deeper understanding of their needs.
Some of the findings some might find surprising:
- There is news fatigue, a real helplessness about information.
- Too many updates, too little resolution in the mix (with the exception of sports and entertainment, which tell stories with a beginning, middle and end and offer next steps).
- Depth is sought (updates do not equal insight).
- Understanding news is equated with social currency (thus, young people will deal with the fatigue to gain a higher understanding, if news organizations will organize data properly for them).
- The news diet is out of balance.
The study examined the consumption patterns and found news is often part of multitasked consumption, that young people check updates often out of boredom, and that news organizations aren't finding sophisticated ways to tap into the interest.
The study also shows two case studies at The AP (its report on the study here) and The Daily Telegraph on how they addressed these issues.
The newspaper has never been the medium of choice for young people, but the industry has long been concerned that this generation possesses the technology to ensure it never grows into the ink-on-paper consumer.
The latest effort by so-called old media to generate news and entertainment content for Generation Y is TheVine, from Australia's substantial Fairfax newspaper group and a youth marketing company called Lifelounge. It's a combination of Fairfax content and social media, and Lifelounge is in charge of the team.
A quick glance will make quickly clear that it's unlike anything Fairfax might produce on its own.