Online, Newspaper Audiences Up, But Revenue Growth Slows

Roughly 59.6 million people visited newspaper Web sites in July, according to new figures from the Newspaper Association of America released Wednesday. That's 37.1% of all active Internet users in the U.S., and the number represents a 9% increase over the same month in 2006.

In fact, it's the second-largest monthly audience on record since 2004, when NAA started tracking Web audiences. (The top spot is held by May of this year, when NAA reported 60.3 million visitors.)

This good news for newspapers comes alongside a new report on the total print and online "footprint" of newspapers, based on analysis of Scarborough data, which found that 77% of adults read a newspaper in print or online every week during the third quarter. The duration of online visits is also on the upswing, with users spending an average of 43 minutes per month on newspaper Web sites during the third quarter of 2007, versus 40 minutes in the same period last year.

The historic and current figures are all available in the Newspaper Audience Database or NAdbase report produced by the NAA, which contains other data detailing newspaper readership, including the following statistics: 85% of individuals from households with annual incomes over $100,000 read a newspaper in print or online each week; so do 84% of college graduates. Also, 82% of individuals who bought something online in the last year.



Despite this flattering portrait of newspaper print and online audiences, most newspaper companies saw the rate of growth in online revenues slow in the third quarter, compared to the same period last year. At the Tribune Company, for example, interactive revenues grew just 9% in the third quarter compared to 28% in the third quarter of 2006; that also represents a decline in absolute dollar terms.

McClatchy's online revenues grew just 1.4% in the third quarter of 2007, down from 16.3% in 2006 3Q. Dow Jones' online revenues grew 8%, versus 13% last year. E.W. Scripps' newspaper Web sites (separated from TV station Web sites) grew 19%, down from 40% in the third quarter of 2006. Finally, Gannett's community newspaper Web sites grew 7.5%, compared to 21% last year.

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