Newspapers' Impressive Local Reach

Nielsen//NetRatings issued some very interesting findings late this week that should give newspapers a considerable boost. The company found that "online readers in nine of the top 10 local markets were loyal to the city's top newspaper Web site."

In terms of percent of local market penetrated by online newspaper editions, here were Nielsen€™s findings:

  • WashingtonPost.com — 30.1
  • Boston.com/Boston Globe — 28.3
  • AJC.com/Atlanta Journal-Constitution — 26.4
  • NYTimes.com — 21.9
  • ChicagoTribune.com — 21.0
  • SeattleTimes.com — 16.7
  • DallasNews.com — 15.9
  • LATimes.com — 15.4
  • SFGate.com/SF Chronicle — 13.9

Of the top 10 cities that Nielsen//NetRatings surveyed, Philadelphia was the only one in which the local paper's Web site was not the most popular. There, USA Today captured the greatest market share (9.6 percent). KRD's Philly.com was a close second with 9.2 percent penetration. (Scroll, lower right for Tribe.net integration.)

What this suggests is that the newspapers have successfully leveraged their offline brands online and built loyal audiences. It equally suggests the power and importance of true local content to the online audience.

When you combine the Nielsen findings with those of an earlier survey by BURST! Media, which found that the majority of online users were interested in news content above all other types (62 percent), it shows that newspapers are in a very strong position and have a window of opportunity to extend their local brands beyond news/editorial content to become more comprehensive local content and ad portals.

As print editions struggle, online editions are growing — even though in real dollars, they con't yet compete with offline revenues.

On Thursday this past week, I had a very interesting conversation with Michael Yavonditte, CEO of Quigo, about what the company is doing in the newpaper space. Most of the conversation was "off the record" so I can't reproduce it here. But his company is building impressive products that are helping newspapers become more competitive and "self-determined" on the advertising front.

Mr. Yavonditte will be at ILM:05 speaking about local, contextual advertising (scroll for panel description) and other subjects.

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