Tuesday, January 29, 2008
CHICAGO — Average monthly unique-audience figures for newspaper Web sites grew 9 percent in the fourth quarter to 62.8 million, an industry trade group said Thursday.
A new report by Nielsen Online that takes into account Internet usage at both home and work shows the increase from a year-ago figure of 57.6 million average monthly unique users, the Newspaper Association of America said.
Some 39 percent of all active Web users visited newspaper sites in the December quarter, with visits averaging 44 minutes a month.
In 2007, the unique audience for newspaper sites rose 6 percent over 2006.
"As our industry's transition accelerates, it is clear consumers recognize newspapers as their trusted source of information in an increasingly digital environment," said John Sturm, president and chief executive of the NAA, in a statement.
Amid significant losses in advertising sales and subscriptions, newspaper stocks have been out of favor on Wall Street for more than two years. Changing reader habits _ most notably a shift toward the consumption of news and information over the Web, rather than in print _ have punished the group. Tough times for some of the heaviest traditional buyers of newspaper ads (automakers, airlines and retailers) have added to the difficulty.
The newspaper industry has contended that online readership has expanded its total audience. Analysts have yet to be convinced that online usage isn't merely cannibalizing print business.
Among the most-read newspaper Web sites are the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Post and the joint site for Seattle Times and the Post-Intelligencer.
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