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Newspaper Readership is Growing… Online

We have all heard that newspaper industry is struggling these days: circulation numbers are down and many newspapers have even folded over the last few years. However, the truth is people are reading the newspaper, but the way they are reading it is changing.

A new report from comScore indicates that more people are consuming newspaper content online than off. In the month of May, 57 percent of the U.S. online audience visited a newspaper site, with The New York Times leading the category with 32 million visitors and 719 million pages viewed.

With the news changing so quickly, the internet enables news to be consumed in real time. In the past, the pricing structure of online advertising was significantly cheaper – resulting in low (or no) revenue for the papers. This is also changing, according to Jeff Hackett, comScore’s senior vice president. “As advertising rates for digital move closer to traditional media, the economics of the news business looks a lot more promising,” he said.

This leads to another challenge for the newspaper business: whether or not to charge for online content. More and more papers are testing this model – allowing people to get only so deep into the site for free. According to an Adweek-Media/Harris Poll, when asked what they would be willing to pay to access news online, 77 percent of consumers responded “nothing.” Time will tell how this will impact the online readership numbers and ultimately the paper’s revenue stream.

As a media person, it is encouraging to see the newspaper business evolve and reinvent itself via the internet. At Austin & Williams, we will continue to recommend combination buys (online and offline) for our clients when appropriate, to ensure we are reaching the full audience who use newspapers when making critical decisions.

What are your newspaper habits, do you read the paper online? Would you pay for newspaper content online?



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