Newspaper websites attracted more than 74 million unique visitors in the third quarter of 2009, accounting for 38% of all Internet users, according to a study conducted by Nielsen Online for the Newspaper Association of America (NAA).

Web newspaper readers generated more than 3.5 billion pageviews during the quarter, spending 2.7 billion minutes browsing the sites over more than 596 million sessions, the study found. *

Consumers value print newspapers

Other NAA-sponsored research, released in September, indicates that consumers find substantial value in newspaper print products, with newspaper companies able to command higher newsstand and home-delivery prices for print editions, NAA said.

NAA's 2009 Circulation, Facts, Figures and Logic report* found higher levels of subscribers retaining subscriptions, with subscriber "churn" falling dramatically to 31.8% in 2008, compared with 54.5% in 2000.

In addition, 32% of newspapers priced their daily edition at 75 cents at the end of 2008 (vs. just 2% in 2006), while the average seven-day, home-delivery weekday rate rose 8.6% at the same time newspapers are increasing retention, according to the study.

New business models boost print revenue

Also according to the Facts, Figures and Logic report:

  • Newspaper partnerships are improving efficiency: In the 100,000-circulation category, nine out of ten newspapers count on multiple income streams through the delivery of partner publications.
  • Newspapers are successfully using discounts to attract consumers to more cost-effective, higher retention payment plans.

"Newspaper publishers continue to aggressively reinvent their business models, leveraging trusted brands to attract a growing and sophisticated audience in the digital space," said NAA President and CEO John F. Sturm.

"At the same time, industry executives have adopted smarter circulation strategies that are growing circulation revenues even though paid circulation numbers are lower. This places the focus where it belongs: retaining core readers who deliver maximum value to advertisers while harnessing digital platforms to broaden our medium's audience and position us strongly for the future."

*Effective with June 2009 data, Nielsen has made several enhancements to its NetView service, including an increased sample size of more than 230,000 panelists, more granular reporting, and improved accuracy and representativeness. Due to the enhancements, trending of previously reported data with current results may show percentage differences attributable to these product enhancements and should only be compared directionally.

**Facts, Figures and Logic is based on a biennial survey. This year, 405 newspapers responded by mail and online between November 2008 to January 2009; Clark, Martire & Bartolomeo Inc. helped compile the data.

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