You’ll be hearing a lot this week about multi-source news readers, because Google Reader will finally go offline next week. These readers allow users to “subscribe” to dozens of news sources, blogs and even web sites using RSS feeds. Everybody seems to be getting in on the act, with Digg, AOL, Reddit and even Facebook either introducing readers or floating trial balloons. But the big winner for now seems to be Feedly, which does a nice job on tablets and phones and just “cut the cord” so that it no longer depends on the Google platform.
These apps are important, because they’re an increasingly the way we access our news. I use Feedly, which allows me to quickly scan several dozen trade and business pubs, national and local media sites, and blogs. In that context, I wanted to pass along some new data from the Newspaper Association’s annual media review. (Most of this was not available when I compiled my annual Media Update a few weeks ago.)
The good news for newspapers (and for advertisers) is that 164 million (69 percent) of U.S. adults read newspaper media content — either print or online — in a typical week, or on mobile in a typical month. The bad news is that more than 17 percent of those are mobile-only, so they aren’t seeing print ads. And these aren’t all kids: 55% of the mobile-only newspaper readers are 35 or older. We’ll get a better feel for this when we see numbers for the first quarter of 2013.
The newspaper readership numbers in the Scarborough USA report show that 47 percent of adults 35 or older saw a newspaper — in print or online — “yesterday.” Over a week’s time, that number jumps to 65 percent, and over 30 days, it grows to 72%. This data shows little difference between men and women — or, for that matter, between daily and Sunday. The major dividing point is age, with only 28% of adults 18-34 reading a newspaper “yesterday,” vs. the 47 percent who are 35 and over.
Our challenge in reaching those readers is that we still don’t know a lot about exactly what they’re seeing. We’re left to guess what pages people are seeing in print, and exactly how the readership breaks down in terms of web, mobile and print. (Remember that these numbers come the industry, so it’s in their interest to package digital and print readers together to present a happier picture.)
While mobile readership is growing rapidly, advertising on handsets and tablets remains a muddle. The newspapers really don’t have a lot to offer in the way of ads on media-specific apps (which nobody seems to be using anyway).