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Home > Trends & Numbers > Newspaper Websites > Newspaper Web Audience

Newspaper Web Audience

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

Download a PDF of the full report.

Key Findings

The digital audience delivered by U.S. newspaper media reached another peak in October 2014 at 166 million unique adult visitors, a 17% increase from October a year ago.

Data recorded by the media measurement firm comScore revealed:

  • Eight in ten (80%) of U.S. adults who were online in October 2014 engaged with newspaper digital content.
  • The reach of newspaper digital content is highest for women age 25-34, where more than nine in ten (91%) are reached by newspaper digital media during the month.
  • Those who use only mobile devices—smartphones or tablets—for newspaper digital content grew by 85% over the past twelve months, in large part due to young women (18-24), where that audience segment increased 173%.

Audience and Reach

The newspaper digital audience—adult unique visitors in the U.S. engaged with U.S. newspaper digital content— increased 17% in October 2014 to 166 million from 142 million in October 2013 (see chart). It is a gain of 24 million. In the ten months from January to October, the number of unique visitors engaged with newspaper digital content increased by 20 million.

newspaper digital audience chart 

In terms of demographics, women outpaced men in audience growth in every age segment (see chart).  The percentage increase in the female audience was particularly evident at either end of the age scale, where young women (18-24 and 25-34) and older women (55+) grew faster than their male counterparts and women in between those age brackets.

newspaper digital audience growth chart 

Overall, eight in ten (80%) of U.S. adults active online in October 2014 engaged with newspaper content. This net reach figure was slightly higher for women (82%) than for men (78%). The age segments for women with above average reach were for those 25-34 (91%) and 35-44 (86%). For men, the segments above average were for ages 35-44 (84%) and 55 or older (86%).

newspaper reach by gender chart 

Use of Mobile Devices

The widespread use of mobile devices continues to be a driving force for the growing audience for newspaper digital content. While many people use a combination of desktop computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets in a typical month, those who use only mobile devices for their digital access to newspaper content had explosive growth rates (see chart).

Overall, the mobile-exclusive users of newspaper digital content increased 85% from October 2014 from October 2013.  Growth was especially evident among women 18-24, where the number of unique visitors increased 173%. Growth also more than doubled for men 25-34 (112%).

mobile newspaper reach chart 

Data Source

This report is based on an analysis of data gathered from more 300 U.S. newspapers by the media measurement firm comScore through its Media Metrix Multi-Platform and Mobile Metrix services. This measurement is reported as a custom entity, called NAA Aggregate, in the newspaper section of comScore’s database. ComScore launched multiplatform measurements — which show combined mobile and desktop, and mobile-exclusive users — in March 2013. These numbers offer an unduplicated count of the total digital audience, meaning that a visitor is counted once, even when they access content on different computers or devices. The audience that newspaper media generates with their print products are not a part of this report.

Download a PDF of the full report.

First Published: November 24, 2014