Study Reveals Top Alternative Paper Websites


The Media Audit FYI
June 2013

A new study analyzing the nation's top 100 alternative newspapers and their websites reveals that Madison, Wisconsin's Isthmus ranks highest in website reach with adults 18+. According to the study, 15.2% of the Madison metro area's population has visited the newspaper's website within the past 30 days.  The figure represents nearly 70,000 unique monthly visitors alone to the newspaper's website. Taking into account duplication between the print audience and digital audience, the website for the popular alternative news weekly adds more than 27,000 additional adults to the paper's overall reach.

As more readers are shifting to digital content, alternative newspapers are seeing greater impact that their websites have on total reach. As a result, The Media Audit provides analysis that breaks down each paper's monthly reach, their website reach, and the total unduplicated net reach for the combined audiences.  A top line summary of these findings will be available at next month's Association of Alternative Newsmedia Annual Convention in Miami.

Charlottesville, Virginia's C-Ville Weekly ranks number two in the national study with 14.7% of the metro area's 18+ population having visited the website  in the past 30 days, followed by Austin, Texas's Austin Chronicle (13.9% reach for, Springfield, Illinois's Illinois Times (11% reach for and Charlottesville, Virginia's The Hook (10.9% reach with 

When each newspaper's total readership and unique monthly website visitors are combined for a total unduplicated net reach figure, Charlottesville, Virginia's The Hook ranks as the top paper in terms of total combined reach with adults 18+. According to the same report, the newspaper and its website reach 51.1% of the metro area's adults within a 30 day period.  In Spokane, Washington, The Inlander ranks number two nationally, reaching 43.4% of the metro area's adults within a 30 day period.  Charlottesville, Virginia's C-Ville Weekly ranks third with a 42.2% total combined reach.

Among the remaining top ten papers with the highest unduplicated net reach include Springfield, Illinois's Illinois Times, with a 41.3% total unduplicated net reach, followed by Eugene, Oregon's Eugene Weekly (36.9% reach when newspaper readership and website visitors are combined).

Asheville, North Carolina's Mountain Xpress ranks sixth in the nation, with 34.1% reach when the paper is combined with its website, followed by Albuquerque, New Mexico's Weekly Alibi (33% reach), Madison, Wisconsin's Isthmus (32.6% reach), San Diego, California's San Diego Reader (30.6% reach), and Tucson, Arizona's Tucson Weekly (30% reach).

Top Ten most visited Alternative Newspaper Websites:
(Source: The Media  Audit 2011-2012)

June 13 table

The report also highlights the strengths of each paper, in terms of which marketing channel delivers the greatest impact on total overall reach.  For example, New York City's Village Voice, which reaches more than 1.2 million readers on a monthly basis, reaches more than 1.5 million when the paper's website is added to the total reach. As a result, the website adds an additional 300,000 to the newspaper's total unduplicated reach.  Other papers whose websites add a considerable amount of reach include San Francisco's SF Weekly, where the paper's website adds an additional 255,788 to the paper's total combined reach, and in Los Angeles, where the LA Weekly website adds an additional 222,500 to the paper's total reach.

The value that alternative newspaper websites bring to advertisers is in their ability to reach upscale consumers. Collectively, visitors to alternative newspaper websites earn an average household income of $74,263, a figure that is $10,000 higher when compared to the average household income for the general population. As a result, website visitors to alternative newspaper websites are more likely to be in the market for big ticket items such as automobiles and real estate. According to the same study, visitors to alternative newspaper websites are 30% more likely to earn a household income of over $100,000, 37% more likely to be planning to buy a new vehicle in the next twelve months, and 36% more likely to be planning to buy a home in the next two years.

The report was obtained from surveys conducted in 80+ markets from more than 100,000 respondents. For more information on alternative newspaper readers or visitors to alternative newspaper websites, or for more information on a specific local market survey, contact The Media Audit.