Three quarters (74%) of U.S. adults, or nearly 171 million people, read a newspaper in print or online during the past week. This is according to the latest Integrated Newspaper Audience (INA) finding from Scarborough Research, the audience ratings measurement service for the newspaper industry. The company examined newspaper readership in its recently released Scarborough USA+ Study, which captures media patterns and other
consumer behaviors of adults across the country. The data analysis indicates that newspapers are still read in print or online by a critical mass of adults in the U.S. on a daily and weekly basis.
"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."
The analysis of Scarborough audience data not only indicated that newspapers are being read by a majority of adults in print and online, but also that these Integrated Newspaper Audiences continue to attract educated, affluent readers. In an average week:
79% of adults employed in white collar positions read a newspaper in print or online
82% of adults with household incomes of $100,000 or more read a printed newspaper in print or online
84% of adults who are college graduates or who have advanced degrees read a printed newspaper in print or online
"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," said Mr. Meo. "In doing so, they are attracting an audience that has even stronger socioeconomic status - equally upscale with their print brethren, but younger."
"The Scarborough news is noteworthy in the wake of the recent FAS FAX report from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), which reported significant declines in weekday and Sunday printed newspaper circulation," said Mr. Meo. "While Scarborough shows declines in printed newspaper readership, these have not been as severe as those reported in circulation.
This is because circulation and audience do not always march in lockstep as they are two different measurements." Circulation, which is audited and reported by the ABC, refers to the number of printed newspaper copies sold. Audience, which is measured by Scarborough and accredited by the Media Rating Council (MRC), refers to the percentage or number of adults who actually read the newspaper.
"For media buyers, analysts and others who evaluate the health of newspapers and the value of our medium's advertising, audience is a far more meaningful way to measure newspapers' ability to attract a growing audience across multiple platforms," said John F. Sturm, president and CEO of the Newspaper Association of America. "This important data from Scarborough Research also provides further evidence that newspapers reach a highly educated, affluent audience."
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