Monday, September 13, 2010

Current trend has online readership of newspapers exceeding print in two to three years

The latest from The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press shows that print newspaper readership and online newspaper readership are soon to be equal by 2012 or 2013 if the current trend continues. Today, according to the report 26 percent of newspaper readers read the print product, down from 39 percent two years ago, while online readership has risen to 17 percent, up from 13 percent two years ago.

Unfortunately for newspapers, total readership continues to decline overall, falling 14 percent in the past four years. "While 26% of all Americans say they read a print newspaper yesterday, that figure falls to just 8% among adults younger than 30," the authors of the report stated -- and men continue to lead the move to digital, with 50 percent of men getting their news that way, versus only 39 percent of women.
While the trend remains that newspaper readers tend to be older than the general population, newspapers with a strong web presence, especially the New York Times, buck the trend. According to the report, 67 percent of Times readers are younger than 50, and 34 percent are younger than 30. While Pew credits the NYT web presence, another factor may be the Times strong mobile and tablet products, as well. Readers have come to expect that the Times will be among the first to launch apps for new products such as the iPhone or iPad (the Times iPad app was available on the day Apple's tablet launched).

Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly attract an older audience, really older

While Fox News continues to run away with cable news channel ratings, the demographics of Fox News viewers is remarkably older than those of other news outlets. According to the Pew report, 65 percent of viewers of Fox News' Sean Hannity show are 50 years old or older -- 63 percent of Bill O'Reilly's audience is 50 years old or older.

In contrast, 33 percent of the New York Times audience is 50 or older, and not surprisingly, both the Colbert report and Daily Show audiences skew younger, as well.