If you thought that the newspaper industry was dying, new data suggests that you're totally wrong. In fact, according to the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) and comScore, a leading analytics company, newspaper readership has gained ground, and although this data shows a peak in August of 2014, the growing trend of getting news from digital editions of newspapers appears to be on an upward swing. This is due to a number of factors, and the NAA and comScore data is good news for the publishing industry, an industry that has been scrambling to play catch-up for close to a decade.
Mobile is a Driving Force
Part of the reason physical newspapers saw drawdowns in readership in previous years was because, as people started turning to the Internet for access to news, newspapers simply weren't able to keep up. This then caused these papers to begin including online subscriptions to their offerings, but then mobile technology began to take hold, and once again, newspaper publishers were caught off guard. Today, however, many prominent news publications have streamlined their digital editions for mobile devices, and as more and more people rely exclusively on mobile devices these days, readership is rising.
Not Out of the Woods Yet
One challenge that newspapers have had to face, however, is the also-growing trend of people relying on social media for news, especially millennials. Many young people rely on Twitter and Facebook posts from news agencies to find out what's going on in the world due to the fact that these individuals have lived in an online world mostly built on bite-sized chunks of information. Why spend the time to read an entire news story when a Twitter feed offers headlines and bits of information within seconds? With that said, the NAA and comScore data has revealed that women between the ages of 25 and 34 experienced an engagement rate of 92% for digital newspaper publications.
What This Means Going Forward
Taken together, this data means that newspapers are far from dead, but they must continue to adapt at a faster pace in order to keep up with changing technology and readership trends. As the mobile revolution has shown, news consumers, especially younger people, are quick to latch onto emerging trends in technology, and newspaper publishers will need to pay close attention to changes in technology as a result. In addition, print may eventually be phased out, and that is a reality that newspaper publishers need to face. What that doesn't mean, however, is the death of newspapers altogether.
Finally, publishers need to consider their engagement strategy. As mentioned, social media plays a major role in many peoples' lives when it comes to getting their news. If publishers aren't taking advantage of this, they could be losing out. Also, determining how much content to digitally publish for free is something that needs to be considered in an overall success strategy. By getting these elements properly lined up now, publishers will have an easier time adapting into the future.