Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Some Good News for Papers

Last night, I read the first chapter of Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking. It's brief chapter but, my goodness, it is powerful. Reviews describe it as her memoir. The story weaves around the unexpected death of her husband at the dinner table one December evening. The main thrust of the initial chapter is how ordinary is our day to day living.

I can't get it out of my mind. My life didn't change as dramatically as Ms. Didion's due to the day of this post - my outlook was definitely jolted. In the end, an altered view is good for me - and you, too.

Today began the same as every other day - a morning walk at sunrise. The only rule my walking partner and I have? We don't talk about the job*. Both of us work for our local newspaper. He's been in advertising since dirt was discovered. I'm in circulation and marketing for about half as long. But the topic is something we have in common. Invariably, the conversation will turn to it. We've spent portions of our three miles talking about past, present and future of newspapering. It gets in your blood. Too often we hear other's opinions that newspapers are dying a slow and painful death. Some kind exercise in building self esteem, eh? The focus is on the death of print. As popular as the online portion of the paper has become, print still pays the bills.

Today when I saw this MediaPost research brief, I was delighted.

Four Out of Five Newspaper Website Readers Also Read the Printed Edition

...81% of newspaper website users also read the printed newspaper in the last 7 days. Crossover users (those who used both print and online newspapers in the past 7 days) have deep affinity with both their printed newspaper and their newspaper website, and 83% say "I love both my printed newspaper and visiting my newspapers website."...
Note the word love. Thats an emotion we all want to hear about our products :)
Crossover (those that read both) users visit their newspaper website to:
  • Access breaking news (96%)
  • Find articles seen previously (85%)
  • Find things to do/places to go (72%)
I was a little (a lot) surprised at the nearly 100% who access breaking news - doesn't anybody work anymore?!?! :) - Fact is the highest traffic on our site is 9AM to 5PM. I'd reckon you got to find something interesting during your breaks :)

The study found that newspaper website-only users are 55% female, while crossover users are only 48% female. The main reasons newspaper website-only users cited for using newspaper websites include:
  • Accessing local news (84%)
  • Entertainment information (74%)
  • Food or restaurant information (58%)
Newspaper website-only users are web-savvy group as 52% write or read blogs and 46% have joined a web community.
Yes to local, local, local...and to places where we spend greenbacks! Advertising and marketing sells!
Contrary to some perceptions, the web has not hurt overall newspaper consumption, as 87% of crossover users report that their time spent with newspaper media has increased or remained the same versus only 12% who say time spent has decreased.
Time crunch? What time crunch? We still have 24 hours and it still depends on how you slice it.

The last time you read or looked into any printed copy of the (Newspaper Name):

  • Read last 7 days: 81%
  • Read 8-30 days ago: 9%
  • Read longer than 30 days ago: 7%
  • Never Read: 3%
This was a study commissioned by Newspaper National Network so they got to ask the questions. Its not a huge sample. (here's a link to the download for the study)

Still it offers encouragement and affirmation of the value in printed matters.

And here are a couple kick butt newspaper media sites I've recently frequented:

Media Blog - Howard lists 8 reasons to be hopeful if you work for a newspaper. Check them out - you'd be surprised!

The Newspaper Business - Mark has a great post on a futuristic vending machine. And other fine stuff - stuff being a technical newspaper word :)

*The actual rule is we can talk about 3 things - retirement, vacation and women - we ARE guys after all :)


David Reich said...

Somehow, seeing it in print, on paper, makes it real and makes it official. Watching it on TV makes it live. Reading about it online makes it fresh. But it's still the daily newspaper that I turn to for the full story, with all the details and all the analysis.

Jackie Cameron said...

Hey Bob - nothing feels better than holding the paper to read it as far as I am concerned. I do access breaking news online like almost everyone else but with my cornflakes in the morning it has to be paper.

Bob Glaza said...

I somehow knew the paper junkies would come out :) - Thanks to both of you.

The "real" does have something to do with it, David. I like how you put watching as live and online as fresh. Thats damn concise description -

Jackie - don't forget the smell of that newsprint. Somehow coffee or tea even tastes better with ink in the mix :)

Saul said...

that is really interesting survey results. Funny to read on the heels of the Andrew Keen ideas of the demise of mass media. I know I like my NYT. In fact, I get the majority of my "news" in the print form and I am a late 20 something. Hah.
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