Online Newspapers Grow to Reach One Out of Four Internet Users

Online Newspapers Grow to Reach One Out of Four Internet Users

According to Nielsen//NetRatings @ Plan Fall 2005, newspaper Web sites grew 11 percent year-over-year to 39.3 million unique visitors in October 2005, comprising 26 percent of the active U.S. Internet population, or one out of every four Internet users. The increase exceeds the growth of the active Internet universe as a whole, which rose three percent year-over-year.

This research follows on the heels of last week's news of the recent six-month decline in average weekday print circulation among America's top 20 largest newspapers, as reported by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

According to the release, among newspaper readers 22 percent have shifted their readership preferences from offline to online sources, 71 percent still prefer print newspapers, while seven percent divide their time evenly between the two sources. 

NYTimes.com was the top U.S. online newspaper site, with 11.4 million unique visitors in October 2005. USATODAY.com and WashingtonPost.com took the No. 2 and 3 spots.

Top Online U.S. Newspaper Sites, October 2005

Newspaper Site

Unique Audience (000)

Active Reach (%)

Y-O-Y Change

1. NYTimes.com

11,405

7.5

15%

2. USATODAY.com

10,361

6.81

8%

3. WashingtonPost.com

8,067

5.31

28%

4. LA Times

3,934

2.59

23%

5. SFGate.com

3,922

2.58

4%

6. Boston.com

3,602

2.37

-1%

7. Daily News Online Edition

2,870

1.89

5%

8. Wall Street Journal Online

2,665

1.75

9%

9. The Houston Chronicle

2,654

1.75

35%

10. Chicago Sun-Times

2,584

1.7

20%

Online Newspaper Category**

39,283

25.83

11%

Source: Nielsen//NetRatings, November 2005

** Category includes both U.S. and internationally based online newspapers.

Gerry Davison, senior media analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings. said  “Most, if not all of the top newspaper sites offer interactivity such as blogs, podcasts and streaming video/audio. These interactive features, combined with Internet users' thirst for up-to-date information, make newspaper Web sites  an increasingly appealing choice for news.”
More men than women read online newspapers; they constituted 56 percent of newspaper  site readership in October, compared with women who made up 44 percent of online  readers. People with an income between $100,000 and $150,000 and those with a bachelor's or postgraduate degree were also likely to visit online newspapers, comprising 21 percent and 52 percent of visitors, respectively.
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