March 16, 2012

A new study shows that in an average week, 74 percent of all Internet users rely on local newspaper media – digital as well as print – as key sources of news and information, and are engaging with their local newspaper across multiple platforms.

Major findings of the survey show that among the large base of Internet users who engage with newspaper media, 54 percent are using more than one platform to access newspaper content in an average week. Sixty-seven percent use at least one of three common digital platforms – computers, smartphones or tablets – and they use each at multiple times over the course of the day for newspaper content. The study was conducted for the Newspaper Association of America by Frank N. Magid Associates of Minneapolis.

The research, presented last week at NAA mediaXchange 2012 in Washington, D.C., also looks at what motivates consumers to turn to newspaper media for their news needs. Top answers to the question “Why Newspapers?” illustrate core newspaper brand values, including convenience, the extensive range and depth of news and information, and the amount of local news:

“I like to follow the local newspaper in whichever format is convenient for me” – 89 percent for print-only readers, 88 percent for print + digital readers and 91 percent for digital-only readers;

“Newspapers provide a broad range of news and information in one place” – 90 percent for print-only readers, 85 percent for print + digital readers and 83 percent for digital-only readers;

“Newspapers provide more local news” – 89 percent for print-only readers, 84 percent for print + digital readers and 86 percent for digital-only readers;

“I want the depth and detail that newspapers provide” – 80 percent for print-only readers, 82 percent for print + digital readers and 73 percent for digital-only readers.

In addition to findings about news content, the survey demonstrates the strength and appeal of advertising in newspaper media:

Sixty-six percent of digital newspaper media users act on digital ads;

Sixty-one percent of tablet users act on newspaper tablet ads, while 59 percent of smartphone users act on ads on that device;

Seventy-three percent have used newspaper printed circulars in the past 30 days, while 74 percent make a point of looking at printed Sunday circulars;

Sixty-one percent say that newspapers provide more useful advertising.

"This information gives us great insights into the drivers of engagement with newspaper media across platforms and shows that the enduring value of newspapers – depth, quality, quantity and dependability – extends to digital platforms as well,” said Caroline Little, NAA president and CEO. “The study also demonstrates that advertisers can effectively reach a shopping audience across newspapers’ multiple platforms.

"What’s more, consumers are accessing newspaper content throughout the day on different platforms,” Little added. “In fact, almost two-thirds of mobile newspaper readers agree their news consumption has increased after starting to use mobile devices. Clearly, newspapers’ embrace of multiplatform strategies provides significant opportunities for audience and revenue growth.”

The study notes similarities between newspaper print readers and tablet users:

Sixty-six percent of print users and 60 percent of tablet users agree that their respective platform “is a relaxing way for me to read the newspaper”;

Sixty-one percent of print and 60 percent of tablet users say newspapers “provide a satisfying reading experience for me”;

Forty-five percent of print and 57 percent of tablet users say newspapers are “an easy way to get a complete view of the news.”

Tablet users particularly value that device for newspaper content for its ability to make sharing stories, staying informed on the go and searching for more information easier.

"Consumers recognize the value newspapers deliver in today’s digital world, and as adoption of broader digital habits take hold, they remain actively engaged with newspaper content across platforms,” Little said. “At the same time, newspapers are innovating and embracing digital technologies to grow their audiences across these platforms.”

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