Newspapers Read by 75% of US Population

March 27, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Newspapers

Rochester, N.Y., Cleveland, Ohio and Buffalo, N.Y. are the top cities for online/print newspaper readership in the US, according to (pdf) an analysis of Integrated Newspaper Audience (INA) data from Scarborough Research, which finds that most areas of the country have a healthy level of newspaper readership at the local level.

Cities that place at the top of the list have the highest INAs and highest percentages in the US of adults reading newspapers in print, online or in both formats. At 87%, the INA of Rochester means that 87% of adults in the Rochester DMA* read a printed newspaper, a newspaper’s website, or did both during the past week. Following closely behind Rochester are Cleveland and Buffalo, each with an INA of 86%.


Reader Stats at Odds with News Coverage

In the 81 local markets measured by Scarborough, 75% of adults read the newspaper weekly in print or online, a statistic that Scarborough finds at odds with the recent spate of negative newspaper-business coverage.

“This data begs the question: is the constant negative news feed on the industry warranted when newspapers are actually being read by three-fourths of the adult population? When you look at audience data, it seems irrational that advertisers are leaving newspapers because the numbers speak for themselves,” said Gary Meo, SVP, print and digital media, Scarborough Research. “If you are an advertiser seeking to reach a large, upscale audience, newspapers are among the most effective media for doing so.”

Scarborough states that this data indicates that readership rates vary market-by-market and often defy generalizations about declining audience. “In order to obtain an accurate, in-depth portrait of newspaper health, in print and online, one needs to drill down to the local level,” Meo said.

The research also shows that more than half of the adult population reads the newspaper in those cities with lower than average INAs. For example, in Bakersfield, Calif., and Las Vegas, Nev., (the two lowest ranking markets for INA), 59% of the adult population read some form of newspaper during the last week.

The data from Scarborough did not break out the number of print-only vs. online-only readers.

*DMA, or Designated Market Area, is a trademark of Nielsen Media Research.

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