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Printed newspapers to decline at faster rate than initially anticipated
This year has already witnessed the closing down of several newspapers and decreases in publication runs for others. Now, according to one expert, as recession-hit advertisers shift spending away from daily newspapers, print versions could become a thing of the past more rapidly that previously thought.
According to a recent study by the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication, nearly a quarter (22%) of Internet users have traded a print subscription for an online one.
"We're clearly now seeing a path to the end of the printed daily newspapers -- a trend that is escalating much faster than we had anticipated," said Jeffrey Cole, head of the Annenberg School's Center for a Digital Future. "The decline of newspapers is happening at a pace they never could have anticipated. Their cushion is gone, and only those papers that can move decisively to the Web will survive."
Readership of online newspapers continues to climb. Internet users are reading online newspapers 53 minutes a week compared with 41 minutes a year ago.
Cole cited four primary reasons for the rapid decline of printed newspapers: the loss of newspaper classified advertising to digital channels, concerns about the environmental impact of newspapers, the economic environment and no prospects for new readers.
However, some nostalgia remains for printed newspapers. The study found that a large percentage of Internet users remain loyal to print versions and, when asked if they would miss the print edition of their newspaper if it were no longer available, 61% of those who read newspapers offline agreed - up from 56% in 2007.
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