Local Media Digital Audiences Grow By 5.7 Million In A Year

Online audiences for local news media have surged by 17.9 per cent over the past year as more people than ever before seek out trusted local journalism to help them navigate the coronavirus pandemic, new audience data has shown.

Launched today and covered in Campaign, the JICREG Life is Local database update shows that 42 million people now access local journalism in print or digital each month, with sharp increases seen in the consumption of local news on mobile among younger age groups.

Newsquest chief executive and News Media Association chairman Henry Faure Walker said: “The pandemic not only prompted a renewed interest in local life but it also created a surge in people wanting quality local information and reporting that they could rely on. As a result, local news brands now reach more people than ever before.

“As we move forward, it is vital that agencies and advertisers acknowledge that life has become more community-focused, and that local news media represents the perfect platform for them to connect with audiences in a highly trusted environment.”

The launch is supported by OmniGOV chief executive Paul Knight who has written an article explaining why he believes local media is such a powerful proposition for advertisers such as Government which partnered with news media for ‘All Together’ – a major ad and branded content campaign which has been running in national and local titles throughout the pandemic.

Mr Knight said: “Trusted journalism has taken on increased importance in our lives and advertisers can benefit as a result. And this is as true for Government as it is for the businesses which will power our economy going forward. Now, it is up to the advertising community to seize the opportunity to align with this vital and unique force for good.”

Headline findings from JICREG Life is Local include:

  • Local media now has a monthly total brand reach of 42 million people (78.5 per cent of GB population aged 15+) up 7.7 per cent year-on-year;
  • Digital audiences have grown by 17.9 per cent year-on-year, now standing at 37.6 million people every month;
  • 10.9 million young people (aged 15-34) now consume local media on mobile every month – up 18.5 per cent in the last year.

Newsworks’ Come Together research with Flamingo and Tapestry earlier this year showed a resurgence in the importance of community and that people value the role journalism plays in society more since the pandemic started.

A selection of local news media campaigns published by Local Media Works today illustrates some of the vital work conducted by local news titles over the past 18 months including boosting local business, highlighting local NHS heroes, and finding new ways for people connect during lockdowns.

JICREG chief executive, Keith Donaldson, said: “JICREG Life is Local is the gold standard in audience measurement, enabling media agencies and advertisers to drill right down to postcode sector level to see how local media is consumed in print, mobile and desktop across Great Britain.”

Clare O’Brien, ISBA head of media effectiveness and performance, said: “In a world in which local life has become increasingly important, local news media has a fundamental role to play in connecting advertisers with audiences in a highly trusted and brand safe environment.”

Belinda Beeftink, IPA research director, added: “Trust is hugely important to advertisers and their agencies and is an invaluable asset provided by local media. This latest JICREG update helps the industry realise the great opportunities that local media represents in today’s fragmented and complex marketplace.”

JICREG Life is Local audiences are calculated by RSMB using a combination of PAMCo, Comscore, and audited circulation data.

JICREG is a joint industry currency used by all major publishers and communications agencies in the UK. It is governed by a board of representatives from local publishers, the NMA, ISBA and the IPA. Local Media Works is the local marketing arm of the NMA.