Newspaper Readership Study

Apr 01, 2010

Although recent statistics might lead us to believe that newspaper print readership is declining as news readers flock online, a study released last week suggests printed newspaper metrics are growing for one important measurement tool: the degree to which they are passed along from one reader to another. The study was conducted by Scarborough Research and the Newspaper National Network and measured the readership and circulation data for 25 leading U.S. newspapers. The results show that the number of readers-per-copy of a newspaper has actually been increasing, not decreasing in recent years.

Specifically, the study found that over the past three years, the number of readers-per-copy has risen 7.5 percent, from 3.07 adults in 2007 to 3.30 adults in 2009.

One, obviously, is that it shows that the average copy of a newspaper is getting more mileage as it is passed from one reader to another.

Another reason why it’s significant is that readers-per-copy is an important advertising metric that shows advertisers and agencies how many eyeballs they got for each copy of a newspaper they paid for. This study shows that this number is on the rise, not the decline.

Gary Meo, senior vice president of print and digital media services at Scarborough Research, says, “Readers-per-copy is especially important as newspapers compete for their share of a brand’s media budget, particularly among national advertisers. More people are reading each printed copy, further enhancing the value of the newspaper as an advertising medium, and increasing exposure for advertisers.”

Jason Klein, president and CEO of NNN, says the finding also indicates thatnewspapers might be running their operations more efficiently, and aregetting a higher return on their print operations by reaching more readersper single copy of their print editions, while at the same time, extendingtheir reach via online readership.

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