Digital media readership at a high

Digital media readership at a high

Newspapers continue to make big strides online, with the combined digital audience for US newspapers reaching a record 173 million in January 2015, according to comScore data cited by the Newspaper Association of America. That figure is the highest ever, up 19 per cent from 146 million in January 2014, and 4.8 per cent from 165 million in December 2014.

The latest figure represents 82 per cent of the total US adult online population in January 2015. Furthermore, newspapers’ digital content reached 91 per cent of US adult women ages 25-34, and the same proportion of US adult men ages 35-44.

The comScore data revealed a big increase in the proportion of Americans who consume digital newspaper content exclusively on mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, rather than desktops and laptops.

The number of mobile-only consumers jumped 73 per cent from 39.3 million adult unique visitors in January 2014 to over 68 million in January 2015, representing a proportional increase from 27 per cent to 39 per cent of the total newspaper digital audience.

By contrast, just 32 per cent of the newspaper digital audience only used desktops
or laptops to access newspaper content in January 2015, down from 41 per cent in January 2014. Meanwhile, 28 per cent used devices from both categories in January 2015, down from 32 per cent a year before.

Within the mobile-only group, the fastest growth in proportional terms came among young women ages 18-24, as this subset soared 155 per cent from 3.2 million to 8.2 million over this period. Not far behind were men ages 34-44, with the number of mobile users in this demo up 122 per cent.

Despite this rapid growth, digital advertising revenues remain a fairly small part of the newspaper business.

In 2013, the most recent year for which data is available, total digital ad revenues came to $3.42 billion, or around 14.5 per cent of total ad revenues of $23.6 billion. Conversely, digital subscriptions helped power a 3.7 per cent gain in circulation revenues, to $10.9 billion in 2013.

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