Indiana newspapers should take heart from recently released results of a readership survey conducted in Illinois.
Three out of four adults in Illinois read at least one issue of an Illinois newspaper each week according to Newton Marketing and Research, which conducted the phone survey for the Illinois Press Association.
The results mirror those of the most recent Hoosier State Press Association readership survey conducted in 2003.
Not only do the majority of adults in Illinois read newspapers, they look to newspapers when they are ready to make purchases.
They turn to newspapers for sale information by a 3 to 1 margin over TV and direct mail and 7 to 1 over radio.
HSPA’s 2003 survey conducted by American Opinion Research found that among Hoosier adults who made a purchase due to an ad, 77 percent saw the ad in newspapers. TV was second at 10 percent.
Contrary to advertising on other media, readers welcome newspaper advertising as an important part of the product.
The Illinois survey found that 70 percent of respondents sometimes or always read newspaper advertising inserts.
When has anyone said they turn on the TV or radio to catch the commercials or log onto a computer so they can have an ad pop up on the screen or walk out to the mailbox anticipating the direct mail they’ll find. There’s a reason it’s called junk mail.
But newspaper readers think of advertising as part of their reading routine – looking for a sale on that item they’ve been wanting, whether it’s a car, washing machine, laptop or flat-screen TV.
They use the supermarket ad in the newspaper to put together the weekly grocery list.
The Illinois survey, like the 2003 HSPA survey and readership surveys done in other states, continues to show newspaper readers have income to spend and are involved with their community.
More than 70 percent of households with income greater than just $25,000 have a newspaper reader, according to the Newton poll, which included calls to every county in Illinois.
As Jeff Holman, Illinois Press Association director of advertising, noted: “Newspapers reach those who are ready, willing and able to buy products and services.”
Midwesterners engaged in civics are also more likely to be newspaper readers.
The majority of Illinois voters (72 percent) read their local community newspapers.
So it shouldn’t be surprising that the first source of news about local government and political issues is newspapers for 42 percent of adults in Illinois.
That beats TV (30 percent), the Internet (18 percent) and radio (4.7 percent).
There’s also good news about the public’s support of the requirement that state and local government units publish public notices in newspapers.
The survey found 80 percent of Illinoisans believe that government agencies should publish such information in newspapers.
HSPA’s 2003 survey found that when Hoosiers were asked if public notice advertising should remain in newspapers despite the taxpayer dollars that fund it, the percentage supporting publication of notices did not diminish even 1 percent.
These statistics prove that newspapers will continue to be a vital information source for most households – both of news and advertising.
Steve Key is executive director and general counsel for HSPA.