Big Overlap In Online, Print Newspaper Use

A new study commissioned by the Newspaper National Network and performed by Scarborough Research has found a high degree of overlap in the use of online and print newspaper products, with 81% of respondents saying they regularly consumed both. It also contained some encouraging findings about readers' Web behaviors, which suggest that newspapers are well-positioned to expand their online footprint.

Within this group, 63% read the printed newspaper in the morning (before 10 a.m.), versus just 34% who visit the Web site in the same time period. Conversely, 46% of these "crossover" users visit the Web site in the afternoon and evening, versus a relatively lower 41% reading the printed newspaper.

Jason Klein, the president and CEO of NNN, speculated this was due to the easy morning availability of newspapers that are either delivered or for sale (or given free) near commuter hubs. It may also reflect a usage pattern in which the print newspaper anchors stories in readers' minds, which are then tracked on the Web.



At the same time, 96% of crossover users said they use the Web site for breaking news, and 85% said they used it to find articles they had seen previously. Other popular uses were for weather updates (75%), finding things to do (72%) and community events (70%).

The "Integrated Newspaper Footprint Study" sought out respondents who indicated in previous studies that they had visited a newspaper Web site in the "last seven days." The survey then focused on the specific behaviors of the 81% of this cohort who used both print newspapers and Web sites.

The high degree of engagement with newspaper Web sites reflects a general Web savvy among crossover users that seems to hold promise for newspapers expanding their online sites. In addition to being more prone to click on links for more information (93%) and view or listen to online video and audio (61%), 52% of crossover users also read or write blogs. This finding suggests that newspaper sites have a large cohort of online ambassadors who will cite them--and thus increase their reach--in online discussions and debates.

The implications for advertisers are clear, according to Klein: "It's important for advertisers to utilize both print and online," as the two delivery systems that "serve different and complementary roles in the purchase cycle." He says a print newspaper can be used to drive consumers to a company's site for more information. And if advertisers are looking at a geo-targeted ad campaign, "there's great value in having a print version and an online version, and having them integrate."

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