An independent survey carried out by the Department of Business Administration at the University of Malaga (UMA) has confirmed that SUR in English is the favourite local English-language newspaper among English-speaking readers on the Costa del Sol.
In fact 79.2% of the more than 300 people interviewed in the three different towns along the coast selected for the survey said that SUR in English was their favourite English-language newspaper covering Malaga and southern Spain.
What’s more, 53% said that SUR in English was the only local English-language newspaper they remembered reading in the previous week. Another 29% said they had read SUR in English as well as other local newspapers.
Readers were also asked in more detail about what they valued most about the local English-language newspapers covering their area and were requested to rate various aspects on a scale of one to ten.
SUR in English scored higher than other local newspapers in all sections. On average readers considered this publication to be the most “complete” (8.2 out of ten), “reliable” (8.2), “serious” (7.9) and “necessary” (7.7), as well as giving it 8.2 out of ten for quality of journalism.
The survey was carried out at some of the main distribution points for English-language press in Estepona, Nerja and Fuengirola between April and June this year.
The project was coordinated by market research expert at the university’s Department of Business administration, Gloria Santiago.
“The most important thing about this type of research is that it tells organisations more about their customers, in this case the readers, so they know who is picking up the newspaper and what they want,” she said.
In the case of SUR in English, however, the message delivered was one of reader satisfaction.
Over 73% of readers said that there was nothing to improve in this newspaper and around 90% said that nothing was missing.
In fact, the most common adjective used to describe this newspaper was “complete”.
The results of this year’s survey are perhaps more significant than other similar studies in the past because of the Covid pandemic. The travel restrictions imposed meant that the vast majority of interviewees were residents on the Costa del Sol and not tourists (the interviewees on average said they spend 10 months of the year in Spain). This implies that they would have been more familiar with the local press, and therefore better equipped to answer the questions.
The research also aimed to paint a picture of the profile of a reader of English-language newspapers on the Costa del Sol.
The differences between the profile of a reader in the three towns included in the survey is something Santiago highlighted.
“In Fuengirola the profile is of the typical foreign resident who retired to Spain,” she said, “While in Nerja and Estepona the profile is younger, with many workers and people looking for work.”
In fact the average age of interviewees taking part in this survey at SUR in English distribution points was 62: 60 in Estepona, 70 in Fuengirola and 58 in Nerja.
In total 35% of those surveyed were in work, 58% were retired and 6% unemployed. However, while in both Estepona and Nerja the numbers of working and retired people were similar, in Fuengirola only 17% of those interviewed were in work and 80% were retired.
The majority (46%) live in a two-person household and 28% live alone.
By area, the number of people surveyed living alone in Estepona (22%) was significantly lower than in Fuengirola and Nerja (32%), while the figures for three and four-person households were higher, implying a larger number of English-speaking families.
In Estepona and Fuengirola a large majority of around 80% of interviewees were home owners, while in Nerja more people lived in rented accommodation (52%).