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Home > Trends & Numbers > Newspaper Digital > Newspaper Digital Audience

Newspaper Digital Audience

By Jim Conaghan, NAA vice president of research & industry analysis

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Key Facts

The digital audience engaged with newspaper content reached a new peak in January 2015, totaling 173 million adult unique visitors. The count is a 19% increase from the 146 million unique visitors measured by comScore in January 2014.

The latest data also revealed:

-Those who use only mobile devices, rather than desktop or laptops, to consume newspaper digital content increased 73%from January 2014 to January 2015, and amounts to more than 68 million adult unique visitors.

-The largest growth among mobile-only users was among young women age 18-24, which more than doubled (155%), to 8.2 million unique visitors in January 2015 from 3.2 million in January 2014.

-Overall, the newspaper digital media reached more than eight in ten (82%) online adults in the U.S. in January this year.

-The net reach of newspaper digital content was highest among women age 25-34 (91%), and among men 35-44 (also 91%).

newspaper online readers

Detailed Findings

The use of mobile devices—smartphones and tablets—has pushed the audience for newspaper digital content to new height over the past year. The number of these adults using mobile exclusively for newspaper digital content rose 73% from January 2014 to January 2015, adding up to more than 68 million unique visitors.

Connecting with mobile audiences will be discussed during NAA mediaXchange 2015.

The fastest growing segment among the mobile-only consumers of newspaper digital content was with women age 18-24. This group at the youngest end of the millennial generation more than doubled in the past year, growing 155% (see chart). The second-highest growth rate occurred with men age 34-44, which jumped 122%. Groups which experienced an increase higher than the overall growth of 73% included women 45-54 (94%) and women 55 and older (86%).

growth in newspaper mobile readers 

The mobile-only segment of newspaper digital content consumers is now larger than either those who used only desktops or laptop devices, or those who use a combination of mobile and desktop or laptop (see chart).

The mobile-only segment accounted for 39% of adult unique visitors in January 2015. Less than one-third (28%) of the audience was composed of those who used a combination of both mobile and desktop or laptops. Those who use desktop or laptop devices, but not mobile ones, comprised 32% of the newspaper digital audience. A year ago, in January 2014, the desktop/laptop only group represented the largest segment (41%) of the audience.

percent of mobile newspaper readers 

The overwhelming proportion of adults online in January 2015 engaged with newspaper digital content. More than eight out of ten adults online (82%) during that month used their digital devices to engage with, consume, read, or watch content from newspaper media (see chart).

Newspaper digital content had the highest net reach among two groups: women age 25-34 (91%) and men 35-44 (also 91%). Other demographic groups that exceeded the overall adult visitor reach included women 35-44 (88%) and men 55 or older (84%). Reach among women 45-54 equaled the overall adult level (82%), and men 18-24 almost met that level (81%).

newspaper net reach by gender 

Developments in technology continue to change the way people acquire news and information. The impressive growth and high reach of newspaper digital content across all age segments is a powerful demonstration of the vitality of the newspaper industry in the changing media environment.

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Note: The term mobile-only or mobile-exclusive refers to using only a smartphone or tablet, and not a desktop or laptop computer to access newspaper digital content during the month. Usage of the traditional printed newspaper is not captured in the comScore dataset.

First Published: March 05, 2015