The digital audience engaged with newspaper content reached a new peak in August 2015, totaling 179.3 million adult unique visitors. The count is a 10% increase in adult unique visitors measured by comScore since August 2014, and is double the growth rate for the Internet overall (5%).
The latest data also revealed:
— More than nine in 10 men (93%) and women (92%) ages 25-44 who were online in August 2015 engaged with newspaper digital content.
— The newspaper digital audience grew more than twice as fast as the overall internet audience for age groups 18-24, 25-34 and 35-44.
— Half of the newspaper digital audience is composed of those who use only mobile devices (smartphones or tablets) for their newspaper digital content
— Eight in 10 of the newspaper mobile audience use smartphones exclusively for access.
The explosive growth in the usage of mobile devices—smartphones and tablets—for news and information during the past year persistently boosted the newspaper digital audience. For each successive month since November 2014 (see chart below), those using only mobile devices to interact with newspaper websites is the largest audience component. By contrast, there has been a downward trend for those using only PCs (desktop or laptops), or those using a combination of PCs and mobile during the month.
As compiled for August 2015, half of the newspaper digital audience is composed of those who use only mobile devices to interact with newspaper websites. Just over one-quarter (27%) of the audience uses PCs (desktop or laptops) only, while less than one-quarter (23%) use both mobile and PCs during the month.
Composition of Newspaper Digital Audience by Platform Type, August 2015
(Adult Unique Visitors)
PC (desktop/laptop) 27%
Both PC and Mobile 23%
Over the past 12 months, the newspaper digital audience grew at a rate (+10%) double that of the Internet (+5%).
Overall, more than eight in 10 (83%) of adult men and women online during the month engaged with newspaper digital platforms on their desktop or mobile devices. Among the youngest age group, those 18-24, slightly more men (81%) than women (77%) were part of the newspaper digital audience. Two middle range age segments, those 25-34 and 35-44, had nearly identical proportions of online adults reached —93% for men and 92% for women.
These impressive net reach numbers demonstrate the importance consumers place on engaging with newspaper digital content and further reveal the vitality of newspaper media in an era where all businesses are challenged to enhance performance.
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Note: The term mobile-only or mobile-exclusive refers to using only a smartphone or tablet, and not a desktop or laptop computer to access newspaper digital content during the month. Usage of the traditional printed newspaper is not captured in the comScore dataset.
Jim is the Vice President of Research & Industry Analysis at News Media Alliance.