Study Reveals Top Newspaper Websites


The Media Audit FYI
March 2013

A new report issued by The Media Audit reveals the growing importance that daily newspaper website audiences play in today's new digital age. As more and more consumers are logging into their phones, tablets, and laptops for news and information, newspaper websites are fast becoming more relevant and the ratings are telling the story.

According to a comprehensive report which summarizes reach for daily newspapers and their websites, Ann Arbor, Michigan's, reaches 54.9% of the local metro area's population in a typical 30 day period. When compared to other newspaper websites across The Media Audit's measured markets, the website ranks as the number one daily newspaper website in the country. Adding to its relevance is that the newspaper's website, when added to the reach of the printed edition, increases the newspaper's total net reach by 29%.

Topeka, Kansas's, the website of the Capital Journal, ranks second highest in the report, reaching 51.9% of the local area's population, followed by Syracuse, New York's (50% reach), Grand Rapids, Michigan's (48.9% reach), and Washington, D.C.'s  with a 48.1% reach (see table). 


As today's changing habits of news consumption continues to move in the direction of digital media, the data suggests that daily newspapers will likely continue to leverage the reach of their websites as an important part of an advertiser's multi-platform strategy.

The study further reveals that newspapers with particularly strong print reach still continue to enjoy a ratings "lift" when the paper's website is added to the overall reach. As an example, Buffalo New York's Buffalo News reaches more than 76% of the local metro population with its print edition, however, the newspaper's website lifts the total net reach to nearly 84% of all adults in the market when the two are combined.  Decatur, Illinois's Herald & Review reaches 75.5% of the market with its print edition, however, the paper's website helps the paper achieve a total net reach of 84.1% when the two are combined.

Total net reach figures were achieved using The Media Audit's Combo Builder and Ad Campaign Planner tools, which calculate the total combined net reach of any combination of media.

Among those newspapers that achieved the greatest number of persons added to the total reach when the print and digital audiences are combined is the New York Times. According to the same study, the paper reaches more than 3.3 million adults within the New York City metro area, however, when the website's audience is added, more than 4.5 million are exposed to the print or digital edition in New York City alone. As a result, the publication's website added more than 1.4 million adults to its total net reach, when combining both the print and digital audiences. The study further found that New Jersey's Star-Ledger  nearly doubled its reach within the New York City metro area when its website, is added to the reach of the print edition.  With  more than 1.1 million readers in New York City alone, the combined reach of the print publication and its website audience is estimated at nearly 2.2 million, thus adding more than 1 million adults to the total net reach when the print and digital editions are combined. 

Finally, Los Angeles's L.A. Times adds 862,000 in additional reach when its website, is added to the newspaper's reach within the Los Angeles metro area.  The findings suggest, that especially in larger markets, adding a newspaper's website to the reach of the print edition can have a significant impact on the number of persons reached, rather than the percent of persons reached.

Surveys were conducted in 81 U.S. cities among more than 104,000 respondents.  For more information on this study, contact The Media Audit. The full report will be available to attendees at the upcoming Newspaper Association of America's mediaXchange conference, which will be held in Orlando, Florida April 14-17.