Do People Still Read Print Media?

November 16, 2022

It’s no secret that print readership has plummeted as a result of the internet, leading to concurrent declines in print advertising markets. Indeed, newspapers are now forecast to generate more US ad dollars from digital than print by 2026, becoming one of the first major markets where this will happen. So how many people pick up a physical newspaper or magazine? Recent survey results from Attest offer some figures.

Based on a survey of 1,000 US adults (18+) ending in early October, the research indicates that almost 62% read physical/printed newspapers, the highest figure for the year-to-date. About half of those do so relatively frequently: roughly 1 in 10 (10.3%) overall read print newspapers daily, while another fifth (21.8%) do so either a few times a week (13.9%) or once or twice a week (7.9%). In sum, close to one-third read print newspapers on at least a weekly basis.

These figures are in line with past research from MarketingCharts and MRI-Simmons, in which 37% of US adults surveyed reported having read a print newspaper in the previous 7 days.

For its part, the Pew Research Center estimates that weekday circulation fell to below 26 million in 2020, down from a peak decades earlier of more than 63 million.

Not surprisingly, there’s far more engagement with news websites and apps. Some 82% of adults surveyed by Attest report accessing news online, including 30% who do so daily and another 30% who do so at least once or twice a week.

Print Magazine Readership

Magazine readership shows some differences from newspapers. More adults reported reading physical/printed magazines (68.5%) than print newspapers (61.6%), but they tend to read them slightly less frequently. About 3 in 10 adults reported reading magazines on a weekly basis, including 1 in 12 (8.4%) who do so daily.

Magazine website/app readership is not as prevalent as it is for news. Some 36.1% of respondents said they never access magazine websites or apps, double the share (18%) that said the same about news websites/news apps. Moreover, only about one-third said they access magazine websites and apps on a weekly basis, not far above the share who said the same about print magazines.

Interestingly, though, the magazine ad market is shifting to digital at a faster rate than the newspaper one. PwC predicts that digital will surpass print ad spend for consumer magazines in 2025, a year earlier than the same shift happening for newspapers. Also of note is that PwC finds that the consumer magazine advertising market is declining faster than the print newspaper market.

Other Survey Highlights:

  • About 3 in 10 adults say they spend at least 5 hours a day watching TV, including live TV, on-demand, and streaming services.
  • Netflix leads in weekly viewing among streaming services, followed by Hulu and Disney+.
  • Slightly more respondents listen to streamed music (e.g. Spotify) on a daily basis than the radio, at 41.9% and 37.5%, respectively.
  • Some 15% listen to podcasts on a daily basis, and 4 in 10 listen at least once or twice a week.
  • Only 16.5% of adults do not regularly use a music streaming service. Among those who do, Spotify holds a slim lead over YouTube Music.

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