Surprise! Study Finds Web Users Also Like Dead-Tree Editions

By: Jennifer Saba It may shock some to learn that frequent newspaper Web site readers regularly read the print edition too, according to a new study from the Newspaper National Network (NNN).

A telephone survey of adults who said they visited an online newspaper in the past seven days found that "crossover" users -- adults who read both print and online newspapers -- make up the largest segment. Eighty-one percent of newspaper Web site users said they also read the print edition in the last seven days.

"We were surprised by how high the crossover is," said Jason Klein, president and CEO of the NNN.

Crossover readers aren't reducing the time spent with the newspaper either. Fifty-two percent of those surveyed revealed they have maintained the combined time reading either the Web site or the print edition; 35% said they actually increased their time with both products. Only 12% of crossover readers said they have decreased their time spent with either print or online newspapers.

"When you go through the research," Klein said, you find that "people are involved in both" products. "It's a whole new deeply involved segment of users."

Crossover readers said they would miss the newspaper Web site if it were not available: 41% of those polled said they would "strongly" miss it.

The survey, conducted by Scarborough Research on behalf of the NNN, also looked into the behavior of Web-centric users. Online-only readers, 49% of them, tend to access a newspaper Web site before 10 a.m. compared with 34% of crossover readers who access the Web site during the same time period. Crossover users tend to spend time with the print edition in the morning -- 63% read it before 10 a.m.

Online-only users tend to skew female, the survey revealed. Fifty-five percent of Web site-only users are women. The majority of Web-only readers said they go to an online newspaper for local news (84%), entertainment and information (74%), and food and restaurant information (58%).

Fifty-two percent of Web-only readers read or write blogs while 46% said they had joined a Web community.


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