Scarborough studied the top 50 local markets and discovered that a growing online presence is compensating (in part) for the precipitous decline in print readership. From August of 2004 to March of 2007, website readership grew 14%, but the increase online only mitigates the loss of print readership by 28%.
“The Internet has injected new life into an industry that has been battling declining audiences for decades. There is a new era of opportunity knocking at its door — one that did not exist previously,” said Gary Meo, senior vice president, print and digital services, Scarborough Research. “Newspaper websites, together with other products such as free daily papers and various niche publications, are part of a powerful advertising portfolio.”
“Newspapers need to get the story out about the value of their Web site readers to agencies and marketers, especially as the Internet’s role in the marketing mix continues to grow. Brands have new cross-promotional opportunities, as people are interacting with newspapers in multiple ways: reading the printed publication, visiting the Web site, and using other products like free dailies or niche publications,” Meo said.