Reader survey says print is anything but dead

The young and the rich

When this publication began 27 years ago, there was lots of competition for readers’ time: The Dallas Morning News, of course, the Observer and lots of other newspapers and magazines clamored for attention and advertising support.

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There were TV and radio stations, too, but most of us received most of our information from something we could hold in our hands.

One thing hasn’t changed over the years: We still receive most of our information from things we can hold in our hands — it just turns out our hands can hold a lot more today.

That’s why I thought, on the 27th anniversary of the very first Advocate, we’d take a trip back in time to compare our very first independent readership study with our most recent one to see how readers, and our publication, have changed over the years.

Since 1996, audits of our readership and distribution have been conducted every year or two by Circulation Verification Council, a St. Louis company that is the fastest-growing audit company in North America. These days, a national media association pays for the audits to ensure fair and impartial results.

When we started, readers between the ages of 24-45 made up about 49 percent of our readers. Today, they’re 43 percent of our market.

Notice anything interesting?

Roughly the same percentage of young people read this printed magazine today as did 22 years ago. Even with all the digital competition these days, and despite plenty of print naysayers, younger people still read the printed publication.

Something else to consider: 62 percent of our readers say they keep our magazine in their homes one month or longer — in 1996, that number was about 40 percent. That means nestled among the digital devices sitting in neighborhood homes, an Advocate likely is lying nearby, too.
Here’s one thing that has changed over the years: Our readers’ household incomes have skyrocketed. Today, 52 percent of our readers earn more than $100,000 annually (31 percent earn more than $150,000). In 1996, only 7 percent of readers earned more than $100,000.

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And take a look at the homes advertised in this month’s annual Top Realtors/Home Design edition. It goes without saying that home prices keep rising, thanks in large part to the way our neighbors have worked together to build community spirit.

One brave real estate agent promoted her business in our first magazine. Today, lots of agents advertise with us in print and on our website. In fact, our websites have nearly three times as many monthly page views (500,000+) as our magazines have readers (180,000+). And those numbers don’t include our 500,000+ engagement on social media. Altogether, that’s monthly engagement of more than one million of you.

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Like all of our neighborhood promotional partners, the real estate agents in this issue believe our readers — their neighbors — want to spend their money with neighborhood businesspeople because neighbors helping neighbors generally works to everyone’s advantage.

Bringing neighbors together has been our mission since that first issue, and it remains our mission today. Thanks to technology, we have lots of ways in print and online to bring even more neighbors together now.

To recap: The bulk of our readers are young, relatively wealthy, keep the magazine in their homes for more than a month and go out of their way to spend their money with neighborhood businesspeople.

Do you sense a sales pitch in here somewhere?

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