October 07, 2005

Where’s the Audience of Tomorrow? Online Today

The new Pew study (PDF) on Internet use and demographics reinforces the disparity between the slice of America that’s online and the slice that readers newspapers.

The study reports that:

 26% of Americans age 65 and older go online, compared with 67% of those age 50- 64, 80% of those age 30-49, and 84% of those age 18-29.

 29% of those who have not graduated from high school have access, compared with
61% of high school graduates and 89% of college graduates.

The Internet age gap is the reverse of the U.S. newspaper gap – the average age of an American newspaper reader is 53, and 20 percent of them now say they read the “newspaper” on the Internet. We know that younger people don’t find much use of newspapers at all – only 23 percent of people aged 18 to 29 say they read a newspaper yesterday (from State of the News Media 2005).

The education gap – the more schooling you have, the more digital you are – also portends poorly for newspapers because they need that audience, and their incomes, to attract advertisers.

These numbers are not surprising, but they add weight to the need for newspapers to digitize their journalism and their distribution. That’s where the audience of tomorrow is – and many of them are already there.

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Posted by Tim Porter at October 7, 2005 09:52 AM