By: Carl Sullivan

Consumer Surveys Show That Papers Beat TV, Radio

Daily newspaper Web sites are outperforming other local media in
nearly two-thirds of the American markets covered by The Media
Audit, a service of Houston-based International Demographics Inc.
The Media Audit is a telephone survey that asks consumers which
media they’ve used during the last 30 days.

Survey participants are asked about their use of newspapers, TV,
radio, and the Web.

The company’s latest surveys, conducted on a rolling basis in 80
markets between November 1999 and December 2000, show that daily
newspaper Web sites are attracting much larger audiences than the
Web sites of local TV and radio stations. In 67 of the markets,
the newspaper sites attract more than 10% of the local adult
population. Most other media in the surveys only get single-digit
penetration. had the highest percentage of local users,
with 32.8% of Washington-area residents saying they visited the
site within the 30 days before they were surveyed. Other top
newspaper sites in terms of local use include the Austin
(Texas) American-Statesman (25.5%); The Charlotte
(N.C.) Observer (21%); The News & Observer in
Raleigh, N.C. (20.7%); the Minneapolis Star Tribune (20%);
The Boston Globe (17.2%); the Houston Chronicle
(15.4%); The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee (15.3%); and
The San Diego Union-Tribune (14.6%).

Media Audit representatives point out that their survey measures
local use only. Some newspaper Web sites, such as The New York
Times on the Web, may attract a large number of visitors from
outside their local areas. Media Audit figures show only 10.7% of
adults in the New York metropolitan area said they visited The
New York Times’ site.

Currently, 47 newspapers with 69 Web sites subscribe to Media
Audit’s Internet Survey, including 13 Knight Ridder papers, eight
Tribune papers, five Hearst papers, three Gannett papers, two New
York Times Co. papers, and two McClatchy papers.

Some newspaper executives say that they rely on a variety of
methods to measure the reach of their Web sites. Services such as
Media Metrix seek to measure the actual behavior of Internet
users through tracking technology. The Media Audit relies instead
on consumers to recall which sites they visited.

Carl Sullivan ( is the editor of E&P Online.

Related story: WINS ANOTHER AUDIENCE PRIZE (06/09/00)

Copyright 2001, Editor & Publisher.

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