JICREG Trust Local: 40 Million People Read Local News Media Every Month

Forty million people now read local news media in print and digital every month, according to the latest audience data from JICREG Trust Local, as a new survey shows that public trust in local news brands has grown sharply in recent years.

The latest audience data from JICREG Trust Local – the local media audience measurement currency – show that local media has a monthly total brand reach of 40 million (73 per cent of GB population aged 15+) with online audiences continuing to grow.

And, according to a separate new survey by Newsworks/OnePoll, 81 per cent of Brits agree that they trust the news and information they see in their local news media – local newspapers and their websites – a rise of seven per cent on 2018.

Publishers have called on advertisers to divert more spend into trusted local media as a Freedom of Information request shows government ad spend with the tech platforms dwarfs spend in local news media, despite its huge reach and high levels of public trust.

According to a Cabinet Office response to an FOI request from the News Media Association, the government spent less than three per cent of its advertising budget in local news media in 2022, compared to 17 per cent spend with Google and Facebook. 

NMA chief executive Owen Meredith said: “Local news media is highly trusted and reaches huge audiences in communities right across the UK – a powerful combination for advertisers large and small.

“As one of the largest advertisers in the UK, government must urgently divert a much higher proportion of ad spend to local news media which delivers so much benefit to the public through its investment in trusted local journalism.”

Audiences spiked during the coronavirus pandemic as the local news sector played a critical role in keeping communities informed, both through local journalism and advertising campaigns such as ‘All Together’ – a major ad and branded content campaign with government.

JICREG chief executive Keith Donaldson said: “The trend of strong growth for local media’s digital audiences has continued in recent years, with a large spike during the coronavirus pandemic as lockdowns caused people to spend more time online. 

“In line with other media, local news media has now settled back to a more normal pattern in 2022, retaining the vast majority of new audiences gained during the pandemic. It’s very clear that readers are even more engaged with content which they know they can trust and rely on.” 

Craig Smith, GroupM trading director, said: “At a time of economic volatility, it is more important than ever for advertisers and media agencies to make the wisest possible choices when allocating media spend.  

“As a highly trusted platform with growing scale, local media ticks all the boxes for boosting businesses. Advertisers and media agencies must ensure that they are making full use of this unique and powerful medium.”

JICREG audiences are calculated by RSMB using a combination of PAMCo, Comscore, and audited circulation data.  Governed by a board of representatives from the News Media Association, ISBA and the IPA, JICREG is a joint industry currency used by all major publishers and communications agencies in the UK.


Notes for editors:

Trust in local news media has risen over the last four years. In October 2022, 81 per cent of those who expressed an opinion agreed that they trust the news and information they see in their local news media (local newspapers and their websites), compared to 74 per cent in 2018. (Newsworks/OnePoll 2022) (Local Media Works/YouGov 2018). Results are for all those who expressed an opinion (ie those who agreed or disagreed) on a question unless otherwise stated.