Statistics belie print media naysayers

LAS VEGAS — Newspaper Assn. of America VP of advertising Mort Goldstrom addressed the ShoWest Newspaper Panel audience saying, “Newspapers are like superheroes: mild-mannered on the outside. The reality is different on the surface.”

Goldstrom stated that newspapers do draw visitors to their Web sites. In October 2006, 58.7 million unique visitors were counted at newspaper Web sites, an 11% increase over the previous year. Also, 37% of all active Internet users visit newspaper Web sites.

“Newspaper Web sites and integrated technology work together to maximize reach,” he said.

Gallup principal Dawn Royal said, “Newspaper is the only media I know that is shooting itself in the foot by saying, ‘We’re failing.'” She proceeded to show this is not the case.

Although 44% of the adult population reads a newspaper every day, a decrease of about 50% from 1937 figures, this is “still a substantial amount.” Occasional newspaper readership has held steady at 85%, she added.

Print newspaper ads are named most credible by 42% of the consumers. For movie selection, 37% of the consumers use newspapers, while 26% prefer online. Newspapers are also the top choice at 60% for their movie directories and times.

Centro CEO Shawn Riegsecker declared, “(You need to) understand how to mine data and sell it to advertisers.”

Local publishers rank No. 7 among all the online media properties, with 70 million visitors per month compared with Yahoo!’s 130 million visitor count. However, Riegsecker said that if you strip out the technologies, search engines and mail traffic, you are left with “true content.” Then the data can be re-analyzed, showing that local publishers have 69.4% of the consumers vs. Yahoo!’s 63%.

Further, from January through December 2006, Yahoo!’s page views for movies decreased from 200 million per month to 140 million.He advised newspapers to compete by defining value proposition; improving movie sections; making them a multimedia experience; and knowing the audience. Lastly, be patient.

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