Monday, November 30, 2009

Hey! People Are Still Reading Newspapers!

I just spent the Thanksgiving week home in San Antonio with my family. My Dad loves to walk out to the driveway and pick up his San Antonio Express newspaper and spend time in the morning with a cup of coffee reading it from cover to cover.

I tease him about being a dinosaur, but I admit I do enjoy doing the same once he's finished with the paper. But it's something I don't do at home, having recently canceled my subscription to the Baltimore Sun.
A new report from Scarborough Research find that my Dad is not alone: 74% of U.S. adults, or nearly 171 million people, read a newspaper ‐‐ in print or online ‐‐ during the past week, it found. Other findings include:
  • 79% of adults employed in white collar positions read a newspaper in print or online
  • 82% of adults with household incomes of $100,000 or more read a printed newspaper in print or online
  • • 84% of adults who are college graduates or who have advanced degrees read a printed newspaper in print or online
This is a bit of good news for those working at newspapers. But looking at the bigger picture, my question is -- how long will it last? We've all seen the statistics about the younger generations relying strictly on the web -- and not necessarily newspaper sites -- for their news.

And even if we have this glimmer of hope, are the ad revenues needed to support readership ever coming back? I don't think so, as witnessed by media publishing companies continuing to scramble to find ways to bring in new revenue.
To me, finding new ways to sustain the traditional newspaper business model is the real puzzle that needs to be solved moving ahead.

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