A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46

16 17


In the inquiry made in October 1946 informants were asked whether they had seen a morning newspaper “yesterday” (“last Saturday”, if the interview was made on a Monday). It is of some interest to compare the proportions seeing newspapers in different groups with the cinema going habits of these groups. Of the whole sample 79% saw a morning newspaper “yesterday” and 32% went to the cinema once a week or more often.

Men Women
% %
Saw a morning newspaper “yesterday” 87 73
Go to cinema once a week or more 27 35
Sample: 1316 1816
16 - 19 20 - 29 30 - 39 40 - 49 50 - 59 60 & over
% % % % % %
Saw a morning newspaper “yesterday” 60 80 82 80 73 75
Go to cinema once a week or more 69 57 35 28 22 11
Sample: 116 537 692 685 508 596
Lower Middle Higher
% % %
Saw a morning newspaper “yesterday” 68 79 89
Go to cinema once a week or more 26 36 30
Sample: 779 1352 946

It should be noted that the lower and middle groups represent the poorer and more prosperous sections of the working class and the middle class is included in the higher group.

Elementary Some higher education
% %
Saw a morning newspaper “yesterday” 76 90
Go to cinema once a week or more 32 31
Sample: 2414 689
Factory Operatives Other Manual Workers Clerical and distributive Professional and managerial Housewives Retired and Unoccupied
% % % % % %
Saw a morning newspaper “yesterday” 82 80 82 95 76 75
Go to cinema once a week or more 40 31 42 24 30 20
Sample: 347 697 330 187 1296 277

Some idea of the difference between the public which is reached by the cinema and that which is reached by newspapers can be obtained from the figures given above, and this has obvious relevance to Publicity problems.

Thus it is clear that the cinema is a particularly useful medium for publicity designed to reach the younger age groups. Moreover it can be seen that young adults under the age of twenty can only be reached to a very limited extent by newspaper publicity but are more open to cinema publicity than any other group. Any publicity campaign therefore which aims at reaching all age groups could advantageously include the cinema among the media used.

It will be seen also that whereas men read the newspaper more than women, women go to the cinema rather more than men. Newspapers are seen less by housewives than by wage earners, but housewives show an average proportion attending the cinema frequently. The cinema is therefore relatively good medium for conveying information to women and housewives as these groups are rather less likely to be reached by newspaper publicity than are men.

Factory operatives and clerical and distributive workers show high proportions going to the cinema frequently but average proportions only reading the newspaper. The cinema is therefore likely to be a useful medium for reaching these groups.

Those in the higher economic group and with some higher education are more likely than those in other groups to be reached by newspaper publicity. However the lower education group and the middle economic group (i.e. the more prosperous section of the working class) contains as high or higher proportions of frequent cinema goers as do the higher education and economic groups. The poorer section of the working class and the retired and unoccupied are likely to be reached less by either medium than are other groups, and it may be that the radio would be a more suitable medium for attracting the attention of these. Similarly the older age groups show a tendency to read the newspaper and to go to the cinema less than others, and the radio might be a more suitable medium for these also.

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