Who still reads print newspapers?
According to the New York Times, enough to still bring in the lion’s share of revenue.
“More than 70 percent of all revenue at The Times came from print last year,” writes NYT’s Margaret Sullivan.
“The biggest share of that is ‘consumer revenue’ from print — almost exclusively, that’s from people who buy the newspaper either with a home-delivery subscription or on the newsstand,” Sullivan continues. “But print advertising revenue is very important, too.”
No doubt print is under pressure from digital, which Sullivan acknowledges. But a New York Times without a print edition is not in the foreseeable future.
“More than a million people still buy the Sunday paper each week,” Sullivan notes, although “the number has declined to about 1.1 million from 1.8 million at its height in 1993. And about 645,000 people still pay for the daily paper, which has taken the biggest hit. (The daily numbers fell by about 6 percent last year; on Sunday, the number fell by about 3.5 percent.)”
What might be surprising is that it’s far from an either/or situation with readers.
“The print readers are among the most engaged with The Times’ digital offerings; these are not two separate categories of readers,” says Sullivan.
That’s important news for those of us who see the issues as print vs. digital and points up the truth of the multi-channel consumer. The under-40 crowd makes up 23% of the print readership, Sullivan notes.
“And on the opposite side of the spectrum, the typical digital Times subscriber is decidedly not a millennial, wielding her selfie stick and heading off to Coachella. No, the median age of the digital subscriber is a graying (but no doubt Pilates-practicing) 54, not much younger than the median age of the print subscriber, which is 60.”
As readers engage across more channels, publishers evolve their business models to accommodate the reality. And print continues to provide substantial bulk in the revenue stream.