I’ve worked in publishing for pretty much all my career, and newspapers specifically for most of those years. I’ve had plenty of folks accost me at parties or networking events and ask how it feels to be working in a dying industry. (No seriously, that’s how clunky some people’s manners are.) I point out that newspapers, despite being smaller than they were in the boom years of the ’80s, are still one of the widest reaching media vehicles in any community. Combine that with reliability of content, brand recognition and multichannel distribution, and you’ve got an amazing vehicle for local advertising. New research from Nielsen Scarborough backs me up on this big time.
According to the research, more than 169 million Americans engage with newspaper-generated content each month–in print, on the web or via app.
Across all channels, newspapers reach 69% of Americans.
Now I’ve worked on the digital side of the newspaper business for almost two decades, but I remain a big fan of the print product. A quiet Sunday morning, dark-roast coffee and a few different newspapers to pore over is a favorite treat. There’s good news about print as well. Eighty-one percent of the audience uses the print product; 51% of that group uses print exclusively.
“Ah ha,” you say, “but isn’t that age related? I’ve heard newspaper audiences are aging so of course older readers would have an affinity for print. Young people don’t read newspapers.”
I’ll concede that older readers do have an affinity for print–they are wise. In fact, 50-69-year-olds make up 37% of print readers–the largest segment.
But what about Millennials? They make up 25% of the U.S. population, and represent 20% of print newspaper readership. Not too shabby. Further, look at their readership of newspaper products overall: they represent 24% of total newspaper readership, and 34% of digital newspaper readership.
According to the study, “Compared to previous decades, younger readers now account for a greater percentage of newspaper readers.”
That sure doesn’t sound like a dying industry to me.
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