Local Newspaper Week recently ran at the end of October. This inaugural initiative was spearheaded by the Regional Newspapers and Printers Association of Ireland (RNPAI) and was promoted to agencies and clients by Mediaforce Ireland. The aim of the week long initiative was to “celebrate local newspapers and the important role they play right across Ireland.”
The launch of the initiative took place at the Alexander Hotel on Wednesday, 26th October and featured a presentation of the IPSOS/MRBI research and an address by Minister for Communications, Pat Rabbitte TD.
Over 30 RNPAI newspapers participated in the week-long event which included a 16-page tabloid supplement inserted into all participating titles which promoted local press, as well as details of a microsite.
So, what to make of this week long promotion of local press?
We live in a time when the media landscape presents us with more choice than ever before in terms of the breadth of vehicles we can use to target consumers. It is also a time when newspapers (both national and regional) have received much criticism, with the doom merchants proclaiming the imminent demise of the medium on a regular basis. With this in mind, it was very refreshing to see regional press raising its head above the parapet and making a concerted effort to re-establish its credentials amongst advertisers, agencies and the wider public.
The tabloid supplement was a nice mixture of localised content for each title (featuring advertiser & reader testimonials and historical pieces on each paper) with additional information given on the background of the project and on the research results. The research itself yet again affirmed the bedrock footing that local newspapers have in Ireland.
Some key points:
- 76% of households buy a local newspaper at least once a month
- 63% of respondents trust their local paid for newspaper the most to deliver local news about their area
- Three quarters of all respondents have an opinion that their local newspaper offers value for money
- Levels of engagement remain high with half of all respondents reading the entire newspaper each week & the average length of reading per week is approximately 69 minutes
- Respondents are strong advocates of local press both in terms of news (86%) and information on products & services (81%)
Source: RNPAI/Ipsos MRBI 2011
In addition to re-affirming the important role that local newspapers play among communities, it was encouraging to see RNPAI members actively going to local schools to promote and educate what will hopefully be their next generation of readers. This is a key area for the newspaper industry as a whole to address, in order to develop and maintain their readership in future years.
Efforts such as this are to be commended, given the battle the industry seems to be facing to prove itself. Despite the continual evolution of digital, local newspapers still play a huge part in the lives of people across Ireland and cannot be overlooked by advertisers when seeking engagement at a local level.
Garret Monahan – Head of Press
As always, if you have any opinions- supporting or conflicting- on this post or related matters we’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to post replies below.