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‘Flying Time is Reading Time’ new passenger survey reveals

The typical premium longhaul passenger is highly engaged with current events and uses print media alongside other channels to stay informed at the airport and inflight. That’s the headline finding of a new study of media consumption among US travellers, commissioned by Dawson Media Direct.

The survey also turned up a stat some industry watchers might find surprising, says Dawson Media Direct: that the so-called Digital Generation is marginally more engaged than its elders, with “staying informed” cited as more important to travellers in the 21 to 39 range than to those aged 40-plus. ‘Gen D’ is a more avid consumer of conventional print media too, despite owning multiple devices, and considers paper publications the best resource for reading longer in-depth content.

“DMD wanted to learn exactly how those key first and business class passengers use print and digital news content, in daily life and flying longhaul”, says Heather Browand, SVP for US sales and marketing, “so we worked with the independent travel industry specialist Atmosphere Research to develop a unique online survey of premium fliers in our market.”

The study targeted passengers aged 21-70 who in the last 6 months had taken at least three fully paid premium-cabin round-trips between the US and Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, India, Middle East or South America.

About 400 surveys were completed and analysed, revealing that print media becomes tangibly more important to this audience on a longhaul trip than otherwise. 77% of premium passengers view flight time as a key time to read the press, and 54% of them read some print media at the airport or onboard, says Dawson Media Direct.

Premium fliers also tend to read more printed press during air travel, with the number spending over an hour a day reading newspapers increasing by a third compared to everyday behaviour. 38% of them rank reading a printed newspaper or magazine among their top three activities under surveyed conditions, placing it ahead of digital news content, print or digital books.

“The study throws up so many positives for us as a provider of both print and digital publications to the industry”, says Browand. “It affirms that both sides of the business are in good shape, and that by-and-large we’re delivering the media our premium end-user customers expect and value.”