Studies show visits to American newspaper Web sites are up by more than 10 per cent, and the audience demographics should be valuable to advertisers. Now if only Nielsen Online could answer the big question: how to get those online readers to pay for the journalism they consume?

American newspaper Web sites attracted more than 73.3 million monthly
unique visitors on average (43.6 percent of all Internet users) in the
first quarter of 2009, a record number that reflects a 10.5 percent
increase over the same period a year ago, reported an analysis by Nielsen Online for the Newspaper Association of America.

The
same release cited another study suggesting that newspapers’ online
audience consists of a “valuable demographics to advertisers.” It
reported that in the week before the survey, visitors to a newspaper
Web site included one-third of Americans with a post-graduate degree;
nearly one-third of home purchasers in the last year; 28.2 percent of
people with a household income of $100,000 or more; and 29.9 percent in
management, business or financial operations (and more than 80 percent
of the latter two groups either read newspapers in print or online).

The data is probably similar for Canada.

The point? Newspapers are read by policy-makers and opinion leaders. Nothing new in that. What would be new is if journalists found a way to get those online readers to pay for the journalism they consume.

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