Study Gauges Local Penetration of Top Newspaper Sites

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By: Jay DeFoore

A new report by Internet media and market research firm Nielsen//NetRatings finds that the country’s major metropolitan newspaper Web sites have built up a loyal following in their local markets.

On average, the top local newspaper Web sites reached 19.5% of a city’s active Internet audience across the top 10 local markets studied during July 2005.

WashingtonPost.com led the way with a 30.1% reach of its local Internet users, followed by Boston.com (28.3%) and AJC.com (26.4%). NYTimes.com and ChicagoTribune.com round out the top five, attracting 21.9% and 21% of their area’s Web users, respectively.

Out of the top 10 local markets studied, Philadelphia was the only exception to the trend of local newspaper dominance. USAToday.com reaches 9.6% of online news readers in Philadelphia, barely edging out Knight Ridder’s Philly.com, the Web site for the Inquirer and Daily News, which attracted 9.2% of the same audience.

“City newspapers have successfully built an effective online presence as the source for local and national news,” Charles Buchwalter, Nielsen//NetRatings’ vice president, client analytics, said in a statement. ?Newspapers have broadened their reach by growing their audience?s news consumption from a print-only readership to an online edition, knowing that Internet-savvy users are sometimes only consuming news online.”

Additionally, the study found that NYTimes.com, WashingtonPost.com, and LATimes.com had the greatest national reach out of the No. 1 local market newspapers. NYTimes.com has a national reach of 9.3%, followed by WashingtonPost.com’s 5.7% and LATimes.com?s 3.1%. USAToday.com reaches 7.1% of the national audience.

The study?s findings, released Thursday, were derived from the new Nielsen//NetRatings MegaView Local service, which combines survey results with actual surfing habits.

Nielsen is owned by E&P parent company VNU.

Local Market Top Newspaper site Local Mkt. Reach (%)
Washington, D.C.* WashingtonPost.com 30.1
Boston* Boston.com 28.3
Atlanta AJC.COM 26.4
New York NYTimes.com 21.9
Chicago ChicagoTribune.com 21.0
Seattle-Tacoma SeattleTimes.com 16.7
Dallas/Ft. Worth DallasNews.com 15.9
Los Angeles LATimes.com 15.4
San Francisco* SFGate.com 13.9
Philadelphia USAToday.com 9.6



Source: Nielsen//NetRatings MegaView Local, September 2005

* The Washington, DC local market includes Hagerstown, MD. The Boston local market includes Manchester. The San Francisco Bay Area local market includes Oakland and San Jose.

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