Scarborough: Newspaper Industry ‘Vibrant, Growing’ With Addition Of Online Readers

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By: E&P Staff

A new Scarborough Research analysis of its so-called “Integrated Newspaper Measurement” shows that newspaper Web sites are adding hundreds of thousands of online readers and attracting an audience with a significantly greater percentage of younger people than their print readers.

“Scarborough continues to find that when online readers are considered, the story of newspaper readership for many papers transforms from one of slow and steady decline to one of vibrancy and growth,” the firm said in its announcement of the study results Wednesday.

Scarborough analyzed four metro dailies: The Washington Post; The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Tampa Tribune; and The Arizona Republic. It said the “online-exclusive” audiences for the papers ranged from 2% to 10%, an addition of hundreds of thousands for the larger papers.

This report follows closely a study released Monday at the opening of the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) convention in Chicago. That NADbase study, based partly on Scarborough research, found that newspaper Web site readership is soaring, with one in three Internet users, some 55 million, visiting a newspaper Web site every month. (Scarborough is a joint venture between Arbitron Inc. and VNU Media Measurement & Information. VNU publishes E&P.)

Scarborough’s latest report said the audiences for newspaper websites
tend to be younger than those for the printed newspaper, “dispelling the common misperception that young people are not engaged by newspaper content.”

At the Washington Post, for instance, adults aged 18 to 34 make up 37% of the adults who visited in the past 30 days, while the weekly audience for the printed Post includes just 26% of that cohort. And at the Tampa Tribune, those young adults comprised 30% of online visitors compared to 22% of the print readers.

Scarborough also said that while the online audience is generally younger, it is “every bit as upscale, if not more so,” as the printed paper readership.

It found, for instance, that 54% of those who visited The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s two Web sites, and, in the past thirty days have annual household incomes of $75,000 or more. By comparison, 45% of the weekly print readership live in households with that income.

“This information tells a powerful, positive story–far from fading, newspaper audiences are thriving and growing thanks to their Web sites,” Gary Meo, Scarborough’s senior vice president, print and Internet services, said in a statement.

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