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BizReport : Trends & Ideas archives : August 30, 2016

Newspapers go digital but readers continue to pick up a print copy

After going digital-only earlier this year, how has the British newspaper The Independent fared to date? Pretty well, according to the Q2 National Readership Survey Padd figures, but print is not dead.

by Helen Leggatt

The Independent's total audience is 21.1 million each month, according to the latest National Readership Survey report (Q2 2016). That's a rise of 46% compared to the same quarter last year.

According to Jon O'Donnell, managing director of The Independent's sales house ESI Commercial, the Q2 figures demonstrate that the publication's decision to go digital-only "was absolutely the right one".

The majority of The Independent's readers are on smartphone or tablet (18.2 million, up 81% year on year) with an additional 5.7 million reading via a PC, up 25% year on year.

"Our future lies very much in the pure-play news space and already we are the biggest player in the UK at more than twice the size of Buzzfeed," said O'Donnell. "We are the fastest growing quality news site out there and our innovative and pioneering spirit is at the heart of this success."

However, research in the U.S. reveals that, while more newspapers are going digital-only, print is far from dead in the water. Analysis by researchers at the School of Journalism at The University of Texas at Austin of 51 U.S. newspapers found that printed news continues to have a higher reach than digital in the publications' local markets. While print editions reach 29% of local adults, online editions reach just 10%.

According to Iris Chyi, one of the study's two authors, "newspaper executives assumed that print would die because young people hate print, and that by going online, they could reach young readers effectively. These assumptions turned out to be so wrong."

Tags: digital media, media, newspaper, print media

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