Newspaper Digital Audience
By Jim Conaghan, NAA vice president of research & industry analysis
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The digital audience engaged with newspaper content reached a new peak in March 2015, totaling 176 million adult unique visitors. The count is a 10% increase from the 161 million unique visitors measured by comScore in March 2014.
The latest data also revealed:
— Those who use only mobile devices, rather than desktop or laptops, to consume newspaper digital content increased 53% in March 2015 from the same month a year ago, to 71 million adult unique visitors.
— Newspaper digital content net reach was highest for women age 25-34 and 35-44, at 92% for both groups.
— The newspaper digital audience was slightly younger than the overall Internet audience, with 56% of the unique visitors for newspaper digital under the age of 45 compared to 53% of the total Internet audience.
The increased usage of mobile devices — smartphones and tablets — have driven upward the audience reached by newspaper digital media. The chart below shows a nearly continuous increase in those who use only mobile devices to engage with newspaper digital content. In March 2015, this segment totaled 71 million adult unique visitors and accounted for 40% of the 176 million newspaper digital audience. The acceleration in mobile-only visitor was particularly evident from October 2014 through the most current measured month. A year ago, in March 2014, the mobile-only audience engaged with newspaper digital content comprised 29% of the newspaper digital audience.
By contrast, the audience composed of those who do not use mobile devices for newspaper content have tended to slip downward, totaling 62 million unique visitors last month, slightly less than one-third (31%) of the newspaper total digital audience.
The remaining segment of unique visitors, 51 million, used a combination of both mobile and desktop or laptop devices during the month to connect with newspaper digital content. They accounted for 29% of the newspaper digital audience in March.
Compared with March a year ago, the mobile-only group of the newspaper digital audience rose 53%. The demographic segments among the mobile-only group exhibiting growth higher than that rate included men age 18-24 (+68%), men 35-44 (+65%) and men age 55 or more (+79%). Women 45-54 also increased above average (+81%).
The total newspaper digital audience — regardless of the type of device — is sufficiently large that the age composition of the newspaper audience mirrors that of the overall Internet audience. Each of the individual age groups (see chart) are closely aligned as percentages of their respective total audiences.
However, small differences in a few groups, when recombined, show that slightly more of the newspaper digital audience is under the age of 45 (56%) than for the overall Internet audience (53%). Conversely, more of the overall Internet audience in March was comprised of that age 45 or older (47%) than was the case for the newspaper digital audience (44%).
The net reach of newspaper digital content continues to grow for nearly all age groups. The growth in net reach was particularly striking among women age 35-44, where the net reach rose 9 points over the past year to 92% from 83%. Similarly, net reach among women 25-34 increased 8 points to 92% from 84%.
An especially large jump in net reach — 12 points — occurred among men 18-24, where it climbed to 80% from 68%.
These impressive net reach numbers demonstrate the importance consumers place on engaging with newspaper digital content and further reveal the vitality of newspaper media in an era where all businesses are challenged to enhance performance.
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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: April 28, 2015