Swindon Town Media Coverage Poll: The results

Our Swindon Town media coverage poll reveals only 16% of respondents trust the Swindon Advertiser to provide news about STFC. Read the results of our poll and why Lee Power’s actions to exclude the Adver isn’t negatively impacting on supporters…

Thank you for voting in our Swindon Town media coverage poll last week, which sought your views about BBC Wiltshire, FLIC Wiltshire, Swindon Advertiser, Swindon Link Sport and the official Club Website. Here’s the results of the poll and some commentary on your feedback, in particular the impact of an apparent substantial loss of readership of the Swindon Advertiser…

Media Poll - Question 1

Question 1 ‘Which local news source do you go to first for news about Swindon Town?’ – Despite being the newcomer – having been launched in September 2014 – Swindon Link Sport polled highest with 49% of the vote visiting swindonlinksport.com first for STFC news. The long-established Swindon Advertiser is second with nearly a quarter of votes. FLIC Wiltshire is third with 12%. With the 8% choosing ‘other’ a few selected #tansmedia, while I’m grateful for the two who responded with ‘thewashbag’! The official club website polled the worst with 2%, highlighting the fact that it is rarely used to publicise breaking or important news, leaving this role to the variety of local news outlets.

Media Poll Q2

Question 2 ‘Which of the following local news sources do you trust the most to provide news about STFC?’ – The trust you have for each local media outlet broadly reflects your decisions on where to turn to first for news with Link Sport scoring an equivalent level of support to Question 1. However, the trust in the content within the Swindon Advertiser is around 8 percentage points fewer than the number who use the paper as their first point of call, which is a little strange considering not all trusted the paper the most… Despite not being, in your views, a primary source of news, BBC Wiltshire scored significantly higher percentage in ‘trust’, perhaps highlighting its public service founding.

Media Poll Q3

Question 3 ‘Where do you normally go to for matchday coverage?’ – As expected, the highest scoring result was that BBC Wiltshire is the most popular provider of your matchday coverage, however I was anticipating a much higher percentage given their radio commentary is exclusive to them. Obviously this question does not seek to distinguish between those in attendance at the game or not, where those at games multi-task watching the game while following the media via their websites / Twitter / Facebook. In terms of ‘matchday live’ services, FLIC Wiltshire, Adver and Link Sport all operate these during games and clearly you favour that run by Link Sport with 27% share of the vote. ‘Other’ scored a high 18%, with many supporters choosing to follow the game solely via Twitter updates or the national media.

Media Poll Q4

Question 4 ‘Where do you normally go to for matchday reaction?’ – Swindon Link Sport is again the clear winner for matchday reaction with a result of 36%. Again, while BBC Wiltshire polled a respectable 23%, I was expecting the immediate post-match interviews and reaction would push their share of the vote higher. Ultimately, the newspaper and web-based outlets offer much more than the audio of the interview itself; with player-ratings, reactions, photos, reports and the transcripts of the interviews all opportunities for FLIC, Adver and Link Sport to engross us in post-match.

When comparing the results in Questions 3 and 4, its interesting to note that a greater number prefer FLIC Wiltshire’s matchday reaction to their coverage; the level of matchday coverage and reaction scores are exactly the same for the Adver; while a significantly higher percentage of Town fans turn to Link Sport’s post match reaction – which ultimately builds on the level of trust they have established (see answers to Question 1 & 2).

Media Poll Q5

Question 5 ‘Which local media course has the best diversity of coverage of Swindon Town FC?’ – Respondents to the poll again favoured Swindon Link Sport’s for their diversity of coverage of the football club. As a regular reader of the site I’m blown-away by the sheer number of articles churned out by Sam Morshead, which do touch a wide variety of matters and issues surrounding STFC. This strategy to provide regular and in-depth content is a must for any new publication to stake its claim on the general readership and, importantly, retain and grow their audience share. It’s certainly worked… The other newcomer, FLIC Wiltshire, have polled one percentage point less the the Adver according to your feedback. This is a fantastic credit to Andrew Steele-Davis, who is a former Washbag writer, given that he’s working in his first journalist role yet has been able to be considered on-a-par in this respect with the Adver for all its clout and history.

Media Poll Q6

Media Poll Q7

Questions 6 & 7 ‘Is this many outlets sustainable in the medium to long term & are Swindon fans better off with so many outlets?’ – While the majority of you consider the variety of publications and news sources is very welcome and good for supporters, your answer to question 6 does not indicate you expect this choice will continue for very long as there may be too many players in the market…

Media Poll Q8

Question 8 ‘And finally, have you switched allegiances from the Swindon Advertiser, if so to whom?’ – Only 25% of respondents remain loyal to the Swindon Advertiser as their preferred local news source. This response reflects your answers in Question 1 where 23% stated the Advertiser was their first point of call for Swindon Town news.

However, highlighting the impact of the new players in the market providing news about STFC, 66.7% of those surveyed and commented that they once read the Swindon Advertiser, now no longer regularly read or rely on the publication.

Instead, the vast majority of 54% have switched to reading Swindon Link Sport, whereas nearly 11% now read FLIC Wiltshire. In the case of Swindon Link Sport, two well-known and respected journalists have taken a very significant share of Swindon Advertiser readers away from the Town’s daily newspaper. While a sizeable proportion of Link Sport readers will still read the Adver, that interaction with them is no longer guaranteed; with the resulting reduction in circulation of the paper and unique visitors / engagement with their website thisisswindontownfc.co.uk.

Mindful that Swindon Advertiser have again been refused entry into County Ground for press conferences and are being refused interviews and other information from the club, there does appear very significant issues facing the publication. Lee Power explained his decision to the Adver by stating “he got the coverage he wanted from other media outlets in Swindon” and these results prove that to also be true from the perspective of supporters.

Given the Swindon Advertiser is being excluded from the club, at least supporters do have reasonable alternatives. Importantly, you consider that these alternatives – in particular Swindon Link Sport – provides content that you trust, provides higher quality matchday content, better match reaction, while offering a more diverse content than the Swindon Advertiser.

Clearly the Adver are concerned. They are proposing a web-chat on Tuesday which will be seeking their reader’s your views on the quality of their coverage. To what extent will this restore trust in the publication and deliver the content supporters are seeking is to be seen, however any engagement with their readership is very welcome, but they must listen and act otherwise the paper will lose further ground and readers.

Of course, these results are not a full census and instead are only indication of the media consumption habits of a percentage of Swindon Town fans. The survey was carried out online only and didn’t seek to directly engage with the paper readership of the Adver. Nonetheless, your feedback does further reinforce the shift away from traditional media in the Town, which you consider can only be positive for Swindon Town supporters.

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