When asked by a reporter about his secret to success, Warren Buffett, the American business magnate widely considered to be the most successful investor of the 20th century, once held up a stack of papers and said he "read 500 pages like this every day. That's how knowledge builds up, like compound interest." In fact, Buffet estimated that he spent 80% of his working day reading and thinking.
Buffett’s proclivity for keeping up with current events is not the exception, but the rule. There’s a well-documented link between newspaper readership and higher income levels. In fact, over 45% of those with incomes of $150,000 or more report having read a newspaper within the last day, while 41% of those with incomes of $100,000 to $149,000 have read the news in the last day, according to the 2013 Pew Research State of the Media. These are compelling statistics for advertisers looking for broad access to the professional market.
Moreover, the news reaches a highly aspirational audience. Not only is it read by the thought leaders of today, it’s also reaching the wealthy of tomorrow. I can speak to this personally. Growing up in the U.S. as a first-generation American, I had parents who did not speak or read English. Until their English skills improved, it was my responsibility to keep them up to date on what was going on in the world, so I relied on newspapers. It soon became a habit and a critical access point to learn about and from business leaders in a new country.
Much has changed since the days when I first read my parents the newspaper. The news industry at large stands at an exciting inflection point. Targeting affluent consumers depends on understanding the way news consumption is evolving. With the increasing ubiquity of the Internet, more people of all demographics are consuming news online and less in print. And beyond that, traffic is shifting from desktop and laptop to tablets and smart phones, from single outlets to news aggregators. For many consumers, aggregators of various kinds are the way they consume their news now. According to the 2012 Pew report, almost one-third of consumers get their news from a “news organizing website or app” and another third from a media website or app.
As ever, information is power, so it’s not surprising that those who know their way around a boardroom or who aspire to create the next Facebook, read a lot and rely on news no matter how they get it.