Surprisingly, results of a new study on British papers show that readers devote more time to newsprint compared to digital versions. Market performance was based on the time consumers spent on reading news on various channels. Despite the notion of reduced consumption on print editions with the emergence of online and mobile versions, the study has proved that of the total amount spent on newspapers, 89% is being consumed on print.
The author of the new study, Neil Thurman a professor at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich based his analysis on information gathered by the British National Readership Surveys, and other market research firms. Eleven leading UK daily papers were used in the surveys. On average, reader engagement with printed editions takes 40 minutes a day while attention on online and mobile platforms does not take more than a minute. More details on this research are published in Journalism Studies.
A related study by Thurman in 2013 shows a synonymous trend over a four-year period. On time spent on newspapers, UK readers used at least 96% on the printed versions. The study demonstrates how print editions manage to capture more audience attention than the online versions despite the sharp decline in daily paper circulation. Although drop in newspaper sales has always been attributed to the rise of the Internet, other studies have indicated newswriting style and content as other contributory factors causing decrease in readership.
Publishers can improve both newsprint and online journalism to ensure that these platforms remain engaging to their audiences. Consumer behaviour towards news can be likely influenced by important changes in society or world events that affect them in many ways. With continuous studies on trends in readership, publishing companies will be guided on how to sustain competition in this industry.