Younger, Heavy Online-News Consumers Don’t Read Newspapers

March 14, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Newspapers | Youth & Gen X

Younger news readers, though less likely than average to read newspapers, are more likely to get news online, while heavy readers of newspapers are more likely than average to read online versions of print brands, according to a comScore Plan Metrix study.

The study analyzed the differences in online behavior among heavy, medium and light readers and non-readers of newspapers (segments defined below).

“That current generations are growing up getting their news online for free is an indicator that print circulations are likely to continue their decline,” said Jack Flanagan, comScore EVP. “But the internet represents a significant opportunity to extend – and even improve upon – existing news brands and reach out to new consumers with living, breathing real-time content.”

Younger News Consumers Less Likely to Read Print

Heavy print newspaper readers show a strong skew toward older age segments, while the non-reader segments skew younger:


Those age 65 and older are nearly three times more likely (index of 296) than average to read the print edition of newspapers six times per week, whereas those age 18-24 are 38% more likely than average to not read a print newspaper at all during a typical week.

Non-Readers of Newspapers are Heavy Online News Readers

To study the news consumption of heavy medium, light and non-reader segments, comScore looked at their relative propensity to visit several key news sources online, using a selection of key print, TV, and internet news brands.


Among the key findings:

  • Considering their heavier-than-average visitation across most key news sites, those who do not read print versions of newspapers are not necessarily light news consumers. They show a high propensity to visit the majority of sites studied, including print (e.g., LA Times), TV (e.g.,, and internet (e.g., brands.
  • Both the heavy print newspaper readers and the non-readers show similarly heavy consumption of print news brands online:
    • That suggests that print news sites are not merely an extension of their offline brands but have a standalone brand presence online.
    • The websites for three of the largest US city newspapers – the New York Times, LA Times and Chicago Tribune – have above-average visitation from heavy newspaper readers as well as non-readers of newspapers.
  • TV news brands are also heavily visited by non-readers of newspapers, underscoring the importance of sight, sound and motion to the digital news experience:
    • Non-readers were 29% more likely than the average internet user to visit
    • Non-readers were also 15% more likely to visit CBS News Digital.

“Non-newspaper readers are a particularly important segment to reach because they are heavier-than-average news consumers – they just prefer to consume it in a digital format,” said Flanagan. “That they are receptive to print, TV, and Internet news brands indicates a broad opportunity online, but the brands that will ultimately win over these key news consumers are the ones that successfully integrate cutting edge digital content with high-quality journalism.”

Segment Definitions

Segments were defined based on the number of days respondents said they read a print version of a newspaper in an average week, excluding the Sunday edition:

  • Heavy newspaper readers: 6 times per week
  • Medium newspaper readers: 3-5 times per week
  • Light newspaper readers: 1-2 times per week
  • Non-readers: 0 times per week
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