Even as print sales are falling, mobile has significantly boosted local media audiences and is helping local newsbrands reach a younger demographic, new research shows.

According to JICREG True Local, a new audience data measurement system from the Joint industry Currency for Regional Media Research launched yesterday, a total of 40.6 million people read regional print and digital titles every month.

And mobile is helping, increasing local media audiences by 94%, with 10 million young people using their devices to read regional titles every month. (The figures are based on audited circulation, Pamco and Comscore data and have been deduplicated.)

“The new data conclusively proves what we in the industry have known for some time,” said JICREG chief executive Keith Donaldson, in remarks reported by Hold The Front Page.

“The demand for highly trusted local news has increased dramatically, resulting in huge audiences for the local sector across print and digital.”

He added: “It is also very encouraging to see conclusive evidence that young people are avid consumers of local news and information, accessing local journalism created by trusted brands on their mobile phones.”

The launch of the new system was accompanied by a letter from publishers to advertisers and agencies encouraging them to reassess their spending priorities.

“Our overall audiences are growing significantly and more consumers are engaging with their local news brands than ever before,” claimed Simon Edgley, chairman of the regional media trade group Local Media Works.

“It is now time for advertisers and agencies re-examine their ad-spend to reassess their relationship with trusted local media platforms.”

Last year, research undertaken by Reach around its local news sites compared the impact of ads seen there with ads seen on non-local alternatives; while ads worked in both locations, the impact was greater on Reach’s regional sites.

“It gets really interesting around reliability and trustworthiness,” Andrew Tenzer, head of insight at Reach, told a Mediatel conference. “We know brands want to be trusted, it’s an important metric in society at the moment.”

The local context delivered “a massive uplift” in trust, he said. “These are newsbrands that people have grown up with – they’re a part of their identity and they value the editorial curation and the context it provides.”

Sourced from Hold The Front Page; additional content by WARC staff