The Telegraph is for sale. Who reads it and what are they in the market for?
July 4th, 2023, Mike Woods

The Telegraph is for sale. Who reads it and what are they in the market for?

The still-profitable Daily and Sunday Telegraph as well as The Spectator Magazine are being put up for sale. But what is the Barclay family’s loss will be the new owners’ gain. Among the papers’ greatest assets is its audience. Nearly 2.5m Britons read The Telegraph either online or as a physical newspaper. Who are they? What are they in the market to buy? And what kind of ads are they most receptive to? These are among the many questions the new owners and prospective advertisers will want answers to.

Who reads The Telegraph?

While The Telegraph appeals to a wide audience, YouGov Profiles shows it has some distinctive demographic characteristics. Britons who read The Telegraph online or in print, skew Tory, male and wealthy.* Nearly half (49%) of Telegraph readers identify themselves with the Conservative party, compared to 28% of other newspaper readers. Many more of them are male (64% vs 49%) and more than a fifth (22%) have an income above twice the median, vs 15% of other news readers.

When it comes to age, the biggest different between Telegraph readers and readers of other papers is that more of them are aged 60 and above (38% vs 30%). However, YouGov data shows that young readers also are interested in the paper. Among Telegraph readers, 43% are between 18 and 39 years old, compared to 37% of other newspaper readers. The conservative paper only falls behind in the 40-59 age group, and there by a significant margin (19% vs 32%).

What do Telegraph readers want to buy? 

While Telegraph readers will be valuable for many advertisers, there are a few industries that might take special notice of opportunities to reach this audience.

For example, mobile providers will be interested to know that Telegraph readers are more than twice as likely than readers of other papers to switch mobile brands when they get their next mobile.

Telegraph readers could be a boon for automakers, with 41% of them say they’re likely to buy a new vehicle in the next 12 months. This compares to only 14% of other news readers. Telegraph readers are also twice as likely to open a bank account and to purchase a financial product in the next six months, and three time as likely to use cryptocurrency in the next 12.

Purveyors of high-end goods and tech may also be interested in The Telegraph’s readers. More than a third of them (35%) are likely to purchase luxury goods in the coming year compared to only 15% of readers of other newspapers. Telegraph readers are also deeply interested in technology. They’re twice as likely (48% vs 25%) to purchase consumer electronics in the next year, five times as likely (41% vs 8%) to buy a VR headset and three times as likely (47% vs 14%) to try augmented reality.

Businesses in the health sector shouldn’t neglect this audience either. Not only are Telegraph readers more than twice as likely (38% vs. 18%) to buy dietary supplements, 46% of them have accessed private healthcare in the past twelve months compared to only 14% of other newsreaders. While more granular data is available within Profiles, this difference was especially pronounced when it comes to cosmetic surgery, fertility treatment and physiotherapy. Telegraph readers are more than five times more likely than other newsreaders to have accessed these services in the past 12 months.

What kind of ads to Telegraph readers respond to?

YouGov data also indicates that Telegraph readers are particularly receptive to advertising. Half of them agree that ads help them choose what to buy (50%) and that they often notice newspaper ads (53%). This compares to a third (33% and 32%) of other newspaper readers, for those statements respectively.

Telegraph readers are also more likely to enjoy ads on TV (54% v 26%) than other newsreaders, to pay attention to ads at events (39% vs 22%) and to enjoy ads with their favourite celebrities (39% vs 22%). The taste of these readers for upscale products is also revealed by 34% agreement with the statement “I’m a sucker for anything branded, even if it’s expensive.” Only half as many (16%) of readers of other papers agree with the same.

The Telegraph is changing hands and this presents big opportunities for the new owners and prospective advertisers. Whether they can take full advantage of these opportunities depends on the depth of their insight into the paper’s audience.

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Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data for the UK market is nationally representative of the online population and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles. 

*Readers of a paper are defined as those who’ve identified that publication in their answers to any of the following questions: 

“Which, if any, of the following newspaper apps have you used in the past 30 days?”

“Which, if any, of the following newspapers have you read a physical print edition of in the past 12 months?” 

Or who said that they visit The Daily/Sunday Telegraph website once per month or more.