What Consumers Read In Newspapers p. 10

By: Mark Fitzgerald Most prefer advertising inserts to ROP ads and like
TV books, keeping them around for the entire week sp.

A MAJOR AND detailed national survey confirms what newspapers have known intuitively for some time: Consumers much prefer ad inserts to ROP.
"In America, the circular has destroyed the [run of paper] ads," America's Research Group (ARG) chairman Britt Beemer told the recent Audit Bureau of Circulations annual meeting in Chicago.
ARG's survey of 2,000 Americans found that 68.3% said they "generally pay more attention . . . to the color circulars inside the Sunday newspaper."
Less than a third, 29.7%, said they pay more attention to ads printed in the paper.
In the survey, about 70% said they subscribe to a daily newspaper. Almost exactly half of those buying or subscribing to a paper cite local news as the reason.
Interestingly, however, the same survey found that Americans overwhelmingly turn to television when they want to get local news.
Almost three-quarters, 74.7%, said they "primarily" turn to television for local news. Just 20.9% pick up the local paper.
Radio and weekly newspapers are barely on the radar screen as primary sources of local news. They were picked by just 3.2% and 1.2%, respectively.
In addition to paying attention to the inserts, Americans like the TV book in their Sunday papers. Almost three-quarters keep it for the entire week, the survey found.
More than half surveyed, 52.2%, subscribe to a weekly newspaper, and nearly the same number, 56.4%, say they read the "free weekly shoppers" distributed in their areas.
The survey results seem to indicate that non-subscribers will be hard to convert.
For one thing, non-subscribers generally don't cite any specific feature as a reason for rejecting newspapers.
More than 70%, for instance, do not believe the paper is too expensive. By a large margin, 78.3% to 21.7%, they overwhelmingly reject the theory that there is "nothing worth reading" in the paper.
It's not even that they're borrowing from a pal: 68.6% say they don't read someone else's paper.
Instead, almost half, 48.5%, of non-subscribers say they simply "don't believe [they] need one."
In addition, some 70% of non-subscribers say they buy a paper "when [they] need one."
Once a person subscribes, however, he or she does pay attention to the paper, according to the survey.
For instance, 31.7% say they "really take the time to thoroughly read the newspaper" every day. Another 32.9% say they read it thoroughly nearly every day.
Interestingly, more than half, 54.4%, say they do not spend more time with the newspaper on best food days.
Fully 60.7% say they read the editorial section of the newspaper, but almost half of subscribers, 44.6%, neither read nor follow a newspaper's political endorsements.
While the newspaper industry may be worried about the effects of high tech on their sales, Americans feel otherwise.
Exactly half of those surveyed said they do not believe the day will come when there will no longer be newspapers because people will receive all news on their home computers.
Another piece of good news is the fact that Americans say they are shopping from catalogs less than a few years ago. In addition, 35% claim they are reading more now than five years ago, while only 30% say they are reading less.


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