Young people still read newspapers

Media use: Young people still read the newspaper

Despite all prophecies of doom, daily newspapers are still very popular with adolescents: As a representative survey by the Munich-based market research company Youngcom has shown, adolescents between the ages of 13 and 20, as expected, mainly use the Internet to get all kinds of information. But even the “young digital natives” - teenagers who have already grown up with the Internet - have anything but lost contact with the print media.

One in three (35 percent) said that daily newspapers are one of their favorite print products - right after novels (64 percent) and ahead of news magazines (34 percent). When asked how media consumption has changed in the past two years, almost a third of those surveyed (31 percent) said they read more daily newspapers than they used to. Only 15.4 percent of young people increased their television consumption; The use of cell phones and smartphones, on the other hand, increased, as expected, for every second respondent.

Especially with a view to the increasing spread of computers and smartphones, thanks to which young people spend a large part of their time online, some media watchers suspect that the good old newspaper could be a thing of the past, especially with younger target groups. As the results of the study suggest, the migration of teenagers into the digital world is nowhere near as extensive as expected: of course, young people nowadays spend more and more time on the Internet, says Klaus Goldhammer, head of the media consultancy Goldmedia.

No cannibalization effect

Overall, however, media usage has increased, so that the cannibalization effect feared with regard to the daily press has so far failed to materialize: "The downturn in the print media is there," said Goldhammer. "But not nearly as drastic as it is so often claimed."

In fact, even in times of the digital revolution, a large part of the local population is still reaching for newspapers and magazines instead of finding out about national and world events on the Internet alone. Although the circulation has been declining for years - in the first quarter of the current year, for example, the daily press including Sunday newspapers, with average daily sales of 22.10 million copies, lost 0.7 percent compared to the same period in the previous year - reading local or national newspapers is in many Households are still the order of the day. According to industry information, 70 percent of adults in this country still regularly check their daily newspaper. For comparison: in the USA only around 40 percent do this.

Parents as role models when it comes to media consumption

Experts explain that many of the young people who are often much more experienced on the Internet still like to read newspapers, on the one hand with the specific, bundled preparation of topics in the print media: Adolescents appreciated the visually appealing, clear range of articles on national politics, business and sport towards culture in an expected order, says Alexander Homeyer, study author and head of market research Youngcom.

So far, many websites have not been able to keep up. Consultant Goldhammer, on the other hand, explains the popularity of the daily press primarily with the so-called cohort theory, according to which the lifelong preferences and values ​​of every generation are shaped by events that their parents lived through and lived through at a young age. The adage “What Hans doesn't learn, Hans never learns” also proves to be absolutely correct when it comes to media consumption, according to Goldhammer. The majority of today's teenagers grew up in households where newspapers were simply a part of it. This imprint often has a lifelong effect.

In fact, studies have shown that 70 percent of newspaper readers among the over 49-year-olds were attracted to the daily press even at a young age. Accordingly, Goldhammer expects that a good third of newspaper fans among today's teenagers will take their weaknesses for print media with them into adulthood.