According to the 2008 Readership Institute, Northwestern University tracking study of newspaper and online readership in 100 U.S communities, reported by Mary Nesbitt, Readership Behavior Scores (calculated on a 1-7 scale) among the general adult population have averaged 3.4 over the last six years, with variations likely due, in whole or part, to seasonal variations. With non-readers out of the mix, readers of the local daily newspaper registered a 4.7 score this year, a level that has actually risen slowly since the first measurement in 2002.
Some of the key findings of the study are reported by the writer as follows:
Change In Print Newspaper Consumption by US Adult Internet Users Since Reading at a Newspaper Website (% of respondents)
About the same
Source: Readership Institute, July 2008
The penetration of newspaper Web sites is still quite low in most communities, though it should be noted that only the main sites were measured, not related sites whose ownership consumers might not recognize.
62 percent of respondents said they had never visited the local newspaper's Website, and only 14 percent said they had visited between the last seven to 30 days, numbers that have improved only a little over the last five years. The Site Usage Measurement (SUM) score for the general population is only 1.26 on a 1-7 scale. When non-users are removed from the sample, Web site users score 2.54.
Readers are more engaged with print than with the Web site, according to the report, with ratings for four experiences that are significantly higher for the newspaper than for the site:
The trends are clear, concludes the writer, that low-reading groups continue to take their low-reading habits with them as they age. The very youngest adults have media and news habits very different from their parents. For the first time in six years RBS scores are dropping among people who also look at the newspaper's Website.
For additional information and the complete release, please visit here.