Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Peering across the digital divide

Joe Mandese, the editor of Media Post, writes in today's Media Digest Daily that not only are subscribers getting used to the idea of digital magazines but those who do subscribe that way are spending considerably less time with the print versions of those magazines.

According to a study sponsored by BPA Worldwide, one of the major audit firms, the percentage of digital subscribers who also read the print version has declined from 40% to 29% between 2003 and 2005 The percentage accessing the magazines' websites has held relatively steady at about 55%. Most of the digital magazines are niche technology and other titles, but more are being added to the mix every day. So far, the only large Canadian magazine to take the plunge has been Maclean's.

This would seem to be a strong indicator that, once the bugs are worked out, readers will accustom themselves to reading onscreen or printing out what they want and may soon forget that they ever lugged around stitched and trimmed bales of glossy paper. For those publishers who say it will never catch on, well, the data isn't much comfort.

The accompanying table shows other media used by digital magazine subscribers using NewsStand Inc. (one of several digital services now jockeying for position.)
2003 2004 2005
RSS Feeds NA 2.0% 4.0%
Web Sites 63.5% 50.0% 55.0%
Print 40.1% 30.0% 29.0%
Email Updates 24.5% 18.0% 25.0%

Source: Nielsen//NetRatings 2003, 2004 and 2005
NA = not available.


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