Print Still Dominates Local Newspaper Reading

February 24, 2014

By Erik Sass, MediaPost

Just over half (55%) of the U.S. newspaper audience still reads their local newspaper in print only — with no overlapping digital consumption.

That's according to a new survey of 150 U.S. media markets conducted by Scarborough on behalf of the Newspaper Association of America. It found another 15% read their local newspapers both in print and online, while an additional 10% read newspaper content on a mobile device, as well as print and online.

Just 4% read their newspaper in print and mobile, eschewing other online consumption.

Given all these numbers, it’s easy to deduce that the digital-only newspaper audience (including people who avoid print and only read newspapers online, via mobile devices, or both) actually remains fairly small. Indeed, just 7% of those surveyed said they read their local newspaper only online, while just 3% read it with a mobile device, and a mere 5% read it both online and with a mobile device.

That works out to 15% of the local newspaper audience using only digital channels.

The NAA also noted that total daily circulation is increasing, thanks mostly to the new digital subscription strategies adopted by newspapers in recent years. But this growth is concentrated among big national and regional newspapers.

According to the NAA analysis of 541 papers tracked by the Alliance for Audited Media, the top five papers (each with a circulation over 500,000) saw their total combined circulation jump 22.3% from mid-2012 to mid-2013.

At the same time, however, newspapers with circulation below 25,000 saw their total circulation slip 3.9%, while papers with circulation between 25,000 and 50,000 fell 4.6%. Newspapers with circulations from 50,000 to 500,000 also saw their total combined circulation decrease, although with small proportional declines.


"Print Still Dominates Local Newspaper Reading." Erik Sass. MediaPost, 02/24/14.

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