Understanding news audiences

We believe the future of journalism must involve news organizations better understanding the needs and behaviors of their audiences. To that end, we conduct innovative research into how Americans get news.

Below you will find other recent insights we have curated about how to reach and serve news audiences.

Print Fans subscribe because they love relaxing with a paper

The Print Fans often like the “experience” of a printed newspaper. In their open-ended descriptions, they talk about sitting with the paper and having their coffee in the morning, discovering stories and spending time reading them. They also choose to subscribe because of the convenience of print home delivery, or because they have had a […]

‘Friends and Family’ subscribers need news to support relationships with people

The Friends and Family group subscribed because they found the publication through their loved ones and, in some cases, saw it as a way to connect with them through the news. The paper, in other words, is part of the social flow of their lives. The publication may have been something that they grew up […]

How different types of recent subscribers vary

This survey of more than 4,100 recent newspaper was large enough to break down some differences within the population: Medium of preference: How digital subscribers differ from print subscribers Age: How younger subscribers compare to older subscribers Market size: How new subscribers in small towns and big cities are different Political views: What drives Republicans […]

Paths to subscription: Nine common journeys from reader to subscriber

When you step back and look at all the things that lead people to subscribe to a newspaper—the background factors, the specific triggers, the lifestyle conditions, and the publication characteristics—patterns emerge. The survey asked an array of questions to get at all of this. Those multiple questions can make the results seem complicated because there […]

What drives Republicans or Democrats to subscribe to local news

In 2017, a Media Insight Project study used two surveys to evaluate similarities and differences between Republicans and Democrats in their news consumption behavior and their attitudes towards the media. It found that while the two parties differed sharply in their opinions and beliefs about the media, they were strikingly alike in their news behaviors. […]

How subscriber motivations vary in big and small markets

The survey featured new subscribers from 90 newspapers, which ranged from small papers to some of the largest papers in the country. This wide array of newspapers allows for an examination of whether the paths to subscription vary depending on the circulation size of a newspaper, as circulation size is often related to both news […]

Younger subscribers: What the future of paying for local news looks like

For several decades now, newspapers have fretted about their aging audience and the challenge of reaching younger readers. There are promising signs that young people are open to paying for news. Our earlier study of Millennial audiences (age 18 to 34 at the time), found that 40 percent pay for news content. How do younger subscribers […]

Paths to Subscription: Why recent subscribers chose to pay for news

This research was conducted by the Media Insight Project — an initiative of the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research   Funding for the news industry is going through an epochal change, the implications of which cannot be overstated. In the future, virtually all signals suggest less of the […]

Digital subscribers: What motivates them to pay and how they are different from print readers

Digital subscriptions pose unique business opportunities for newspapers—they can be sold to anyone, anywhere, and have higher margins unhindered by printing or delivery costs. Digital readers also leave a data trail of analytics and email addresses that empower a sophisticated publisher to direct marketing efforts at the best prospects. But the digital subscriber tends to […]

After conversion: How to engage and retain new subscribers

Once a reader has moved down the path to subscription, the journey is not over. Winning someone over to subscribe is not the end of the relationship, nor is it the beginning. It is probably better understood as the middle. (A major issue, not fully addressed in this report, is reducing friction in the sign-up […]