A NEW study amongst more than 700 Irish adults has revealed that local news publications, print and online, are still widely consumed, with half of the population reading local newspapers in print at least once a week, and two thirds turning to local newspaper websites.
The survey, commissioned by Local Ireland — the representative association for 46 weekly paid for local newspapers and online platforms — reveals the current situation on Covid-19 has resulted in people consuming more media than ever before, with 30% of the Irish adult population reading more local printed newspapers, and half reading local news websites more than they did previously.
The younger cohort, aged between 16 – 34, appear to be recognising the importance of local media at this significant time, with 48% reading more local newspapers in print than they did before, and 14% more likely to have increased their usage of local news websites compared to the adult population. The survey finds almost one quarter amongst the 16– 4 years age rely on local news media more than ever to provide them with trusted news.
The severity of the pandemic is widely recognised amongst the Irish population with more than 90% feeling extremely or somewhat concerned about the current situation. Individual and family health is the factor that people are most concerned about (62%), followed by taking care of the elderly and vulnerable in the population (57%).
An overwhelming majority (79%) of the population agree that the restrictions the government have put in place are “fair and necessary”, and the specific guidance is being followed, with 85% of people washing their hands frequently, 83% social distancing, and 78% staying within 2kms of their home for exercise.
Whilst a new “normal” way of shopping is being adopted, with more than 40% of the population now shopping online more than previously, there is evidence that our traditional high street shops continue to provide a vitally important service to the population for key products.
Consumers continue to spend in-store with the most popular purchases being food and drink (78%), cleaning products (70%), medicines and pharmaceutical products (61%), and household goods (56%). Of key importance is that half the population have bought from local businesses during this time.
With regards to the travel industry, the survey highlights that over half of the population have had their travel plans disrupted as a result of the pandemic, and there is uncertainty in the market as to whether these holidays will be rebooked for future travel.
Commenting on the survey results, David Ryan, President Local Ireland said; “The increased consumption in local readership figures confirms what my members have been reporting on the ground since the outbreak of the current pandemic. In times of crisis, local communities rely on their local newspapers and online platforms for the real facts and our advertisers continue to rely on us to deliver their sales and marketing messages,” he concluded.
The survey was carried out by an Independent Research Company, Research & Analysis of Media, between April 17 and 21. The results are based on a nationally representative sample (by age and gender), of 719 Irish adults.