US consumers are abandoning newspapers and turning to the web for breaking news, according to new research released today.
Nielsen//NetRatings said that the number of visitors to US newspaper websites has jumped 11 per cent year-over-year reaching 39.3 million unique visitors in October 2005. The figure equates to one in four US internet users.
This research follows on the heels of last week's news of the recent six-month decline in average weekday print circulation among America's top 20 newspapers, as reported by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
Nielsen//NetRatings estimated that 22 per cent of US newspaper readers have shifted to online sources. However, the internet media and market research firm added that 71 per cent still prefer print newspapers, while seven per cent divide their time evenly between the two sources.
NYTimes.com was the top US online news site, with 11.4 million unique visitors in October. USAtoday.com and WashingtonPost.com took the number two and three spots with 10.4 and 8.1 million unique visitors respectively.
"The growth among newspaper websites demonstrates that these entities offer unique incentives to visitors," said Gerry Davison, senior media analyst at Nielsen//NetRatings.
"Most, if not all, of the top newspaper sites offer interactivity such as blogs, podcasts and streaming video/audio. These interactive features, combined with internet users' thirst for up-to-date information, make newspaper websites an increasingly appealing choice for news."
More men than women were found to read online newspapers. Males constituted 56 per cent of newspaper site readership in October, compared with 44 per cent for women.
People with an income between $100,000 and $150,000, and those with a bachelor's or postgraduate degree, were more likely to visit online newspapers, comprising 21 per cent and 52 per cent of visitors respectively.
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