Newspaper readers are ditching print editions – but aren't then transitioning to the online version, a research paper finds.
The study, titled "Reality Check: The Performance Gap between U.S. Newspapers' Print and Online Products, 2007-2015
, finds the websites of 51 big-city newspapers are averaging just 10 percent of the market's readership, while print readership has plummeted to 28.5 percent from 42.4 percent.
"It’s totally unsurprising that print readership has been shrinking, but it is extremely surprising that in-market online readership hasn’t been growing," Hsiang Iris Chyi, an associate professor at the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, tells Media Life Magazine.
The study also found more than half of newspaper websites saw declines from 2011 to 2015 – and a surprising snub from digitally obsessed Millenials.
Among readers between 18-24, print readership is more than double online, at 19.9 percent versus 7.8 percent. Every age group has a higher print than online readership.
"[The results] suggest the need to rethink mainstream assumptions about the future of newspapers," Chyi tells Media Life.
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