Newspaper may be down, but it’s not out


Three out of four US consumers are still reading either a print or online version of a newspaper, according to a new study out from Scarborough Research – and that group includes more than its fair share of desirable demographics.

“While our data does show that print newspaper readership is slowly declining, it also illustrates that reports about the pending death of the newspaper industry are not supported by audience data,” said Gary Meo, Scarborough Research’s Senior Vice President of Print and Digital Media Services. “Given the fragmentation of media choices, printed newspapers are holding onto their audiences relatively well and this is refreshing news.”

Regular readers are high-powered group. Scarborough found the following audience break-outs:

* 79% of white collar workers are newspaper fans.

* 82% of adults with household incomes of $100,000 are readers.

* 84% of college graduates read newspapers.

Meo is optimistic about the medium. He concluded, “Printed newspapers have been trusted sources of news and information for decades, and many newspapers have continued that tradition by successfully extending their brands into the digital space. In doing so, they are attracting an audience that has even stronger socioeconomic status — equally upscale with their print brethren, but younger.”

RBR-TVBR observation: The internet has had by far a more profound effect on newspaper than on any other medium. It demolished the critical classified revenue stream and put a severe hurt on just about all the other streams that are available.

It’s great news that the internet hasn’t hurt consumer demand so much – but the fact that so much of the demand is now satisfied on internet venues and in emailboxes also fragments the marketing power of a newspaper.

Sooner or later somebody is going to take the concept of the big urban daily and translate it, on a paying basis, to 21st Century conditions. But if anybody has figured out how to do that yet, we sure haven’t heard about it.