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Newspaper websites attracted more than 70.3 million unique visitors in June 2009, a figure which amounts to 35.9% of all US internet users, according to a custom analysis by The Nielsen Company for the Newspaper Association of America (NAA).

The analysis revealed that newspaper website visitors generated 3.5 billion page views during the month and spent? 2.7 billion minutes browsing the sites during more than 597 million sessions.

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These audience figures reflect Nielsen’s introduction of its new methodology, part of an effort to provide a significantly larger sample size, which enables more newspaper websites to be reported with greater depth and granularity. As a result of this change, comparisons with prior period reports are not statistically valid.

NAA reported that these Nielsen numbers track with data from a MORI Research survey of 3,000 adults, which found that newspaper advertising remains the leading advertising medium cited by consumers in planning, shopping and making purchasing decisions. The study, part of a series entitled “American Consumer Insights,” also found that 82% of adults said they ‘took action’ as a result of newspaper advertising – from clipping a coupon or making a purchase to visiting a website to learn more.

In contrast to the NAA’s survey findings, a recent study by Harris Interactive put newspaper ads behind TV ads as the most helpful to consumers making purchase decisions.

Another survey, commissioned by Google, found that newspaper ads do drive consumers to the web, heightening the importance of newspaper websites and the growing need for them to be integrated with other types of offline media.

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