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Aussies in mid-size towns want more local news

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, April 2014 – March 2015 sample n = 51,882 Australians 14+

Local news is the preferred media content for over 10 million Australians (14+) at least once during the week, the latest media preference data from Roy Morgan Research shows.

Whether over breakfast, at mid-morning or lunchtime, in the afternoon, during dinner or after, in the 12 months to March 2015 over half of Australians (51%) said local news was the content they most wanted to see, hear or read one or more times across the week.   

Capital city residents are less likely than other Australians to cite local news as a weekday or weekend content preference (49%). Generally, the bigger the city the less interest in local news—from just 46% in Sydney and 47% in Melbourne, to 50% in Brisbane, 53% in Perth (and Canberra) and 54% in Adelaide. In Hobart, however, 64% want local news.

There is more appetite for local news overall—but also more disparity—across Australia’s 12 largest non-capital towns and urban areas. As in Sydney, there is a below-average desire for local news in its satellite cities Newcastle (49%) and Wollongong (50%), but Melbourne’s relative disinterest in local news is less apparent in Geelong (where 55% want local news), Bendigo (56%) and Ballarat (63%).

Proportion who want Local news

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, April 2014 – March 2015 sample n = 51,882 Australians 14+

In Queensland, the popularity of local news rises the farther you get from Brisbane: from 52% on the Gold Coast, 54% in Toowoomba and 57% on the Sunshine Coast, up to  60% in Townsville and 63% in Cairns. Of these 12 largest towns, local news scores highest in Albury (69%) and, mirroring Hobart’s high preference rate, Launceston (71%).

Across even smaller towns and rural areas, an average 56% of residents cite local news as a content preference at some point during weekdays or the weekend.

Stay tuned for our upcoming Community and Regional Newspaper Readership results.

Michele Levine – CEO, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Around 2.5 million Australians 14+ live in one of these 12 towns or non-capital urban areas. Compared with city-dwellers, they are more likely to be smaller, older or mid-life households—but not as much as those in rural areas.

“These mid-sized places represent a space between city and rural that is often misunderstood, or even unacknowledged, by marketers. Our large and country-wide rolling survey allows us to investigate town residents as a distinct group as well as the individual dynamics of each town, and their residents’ media usage, purchasing intentions, values, demographics and attitudes.  

“These towns represent a worthwhile potential market for Australian and international businesses looking to expand beyond a competitive, city-centric view and capitalise on owning smaller markets. But to do this, you first need to understand them deeper than simply as ‘non-capital-city’ residents.”

To understand the attitudes, lifestyles, purchasing intentions and media habits of Australians living in these mid-size towns and urban areas, contact: 

Vaishali Nagaratnam
Telephone: +61 (3) 9224 5309

About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%