A legacy nightly TV news program was interested in using primary research to understand their current audiences and explore what it would take to find and adopt new viewers. In spite of the broader decline in linear TV viewing over the past several years, this program had been able to stabilize its own broadcast audience and begin to grow its reach of digital viewers. In 2018, the executive leadership of the show was interested in learning what it would take to supercharge its efforts to retain and grow audiences.

To address this goal, CSA partnered with the station to conduct a national online survey of television news consumers from the general public, along with a parallel sample of subscribers to the program’s own e-marketing lists. Through this survey, we were able to identify the demographic, psychographic, and behavioral characteristics of the program’s typical viewer, while also developing a working profile of a segment we designated as “unreached reachables”—those news consumers who show potential to be a viewer, but who currently don’t watch or know about the program.

By defining the kind of person who should be but is not currently a regular user of the program’s journalism, we were able to describe some of what it would take—from both a marketing and a content standpoint—to reach them in the future.