LONDON: Print has suffered greatly with the growth of digital media in terms of both circulation and revenue, but it still scores higher than other media in terms of attention.

Publishers have been exploring new metrics beyond the traditional ones, with concepts such as time spent or dwell time gaining some traction in the digital world, but these are not necessarily a good guide to how focused the user's attention is.

In fact, according to new research undertaken by trade body Newsworks and consulting firm PwC, there is no linear relation between time spent and ad response – consumer attitudes to media correspond more closely with ad impact than time spent.

A survey of 2,643 adults covering 15 media types sought to establish the quality of time consumers spent with various media and identified two types it termed immersion and focus.

The former refers to solus media, where users engaged with only one medium, and the latter to multiple media, where users engaged with more than one medium but with a primary focus on one.

The researchers came up with an attention equation to quantify the results: Attention=solus media+(multimedia x high focus).

These media attention scores put national print newspapers on a par with many other traditional media as regards the solus media part of the equation.

Thus, 60% of readers of print newspapers were typically not consuming any other media at the time (and of the 40% who were, the researchers noted it was likely to be non-commercial BBC TV and radio, so the only ads people were exposed to were in the newspaper).

This compared to 61% of commercial radio listeners who were focused on that medium and 57% of viewers of commercial broadcast TV.

But adding the second part of the equation showed that national print newspapers emerged as clear leaders in the attention stakes. 20% of newspaper readers made these a focus even if they were doing other things, to bring the total media attention score to 80%.

Short online videos were in second place (75%), with commercial TV on demand and national newspaper websites in joint third (73%).

Attention drives a powerful response, the researchers said, with high levels of attention correlating with high advertising response scores, such as ads giving ideas about brands, encouraging consumers to consider purchasing, and that are relevant.

Data sourced from Newsworks; additional content by Warc staff