Web Slices Into Use of Other Media

Posted on July 1, 1999

Newspaper Websites are booming in popularity and markedly cutting into the use of other media, according to a new survey by the Editor & Publisher Company.

The biggest hit was in watching videos with 35% of newspaper website users indicating they now spend less time watching videos. The next highest decrease was in using the phone, 30%; followed by watching broadcast or cable television, 29%; listening to radio, 25%; and reading a print newspaper, 18%.

The survey also shows that local news is the most popular element of online newspapers. However, a majority of newspaper website users give local news coverage low marks, averaging 4.5 out of a possible 10 points. The survey also showed that newspaper readers are more likely to give up reading a print version of a newspaper if they can get most of the same news from the website.

The study of 53,000 Internet users from 75 different newspaper sites -- small, medium and large -- was conducted between February and June 1999. The July 3rd issue of Editor & Publisher magazine presents a thorough report and analysis of the study.

Other findings in the study include that 82% log-on to check newspaper websites, second only to e-mail which is checked by 91% of online newspaper users. Seventy-seven percent of newspaper Web readers also "bookmark" their favorite newspaper sites. Seventy-two percent go to Web pages for local news, 40% for weather, 39% for national news, and 38% for classified ads. Local news is an even greater draw, 83%, at newspapers with less than 250,000 circulation. More than 50% do not go to their local newspaper sites for national or international news, opting for national sites such as CNN.com or MSNBC.