Study: ‘Newspaper Loyalists’ More Loyal to Web

Even loyal newspaper readers go online more often than they pick up a paper, and their reliance on the Web is changing the way they view advertising in both media, a Yahoo-funded study has found.

According to the study, over 70 percent of “newspaper loyalists” access the Internet daily, while fewer than 42 percent read a printed newspaper every day. Further, this group is heavily engaged in multi-channel shopping, meaning they use newspapers, the Web and brick and mortar stores to research a purchase and then make that purchase offline. As a result, Yahoo said marketers should supplement their offline newspaper buys with placements on Internet news sites.

The study was the latest in a series of research “snapshots” Yahoo has conducted to paint a picture of the Web as a powerful ad medium. Others have focused on teens, women and Internet deprivation. The study contained both quantitative analysis and qualitative “ethnographic” research.

Among Yahoo’s interesting findings are that the instantaneous, on-demand nature of online news has turned newspaper reading into a more relaxed pastime than it was.

“The way they use the newspaper has changed because of the Internet,” said Michael Schornstein, category development officer for retail, Yahoo “They’re looking to the Internet for timely news, and reading the newspaper has become more of a leisurely pursuit. By the time the population gets home in the evening, they’re already up on the day’s news.”

Frequently, the study found, people will go online to learn more about a newspaper ad that interests them. In one anecdote from the qualitative portion of the study, a newspaper consumer researched a cell phone plan online after seeing an ad in his local rag.

Faulkner Focus handled the qualitative portion of the study, interviewing 22 individuals while they read newspapers and accessed the Web at various points throughout the day. Ipsos-Insight fielded the quantitative part of the study, using a panel of 1182 individuals in six major cities.

The goal of the study, and Yahoo’s whole research chain, is “to continue to help marketers understand the evolution of the Internet and of consumer behavior on the Internet,” Schornstein said. “We use the qualitative results to help us construct questions for the quantitative portion.”

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