February 01, 2010

Newspaper Web sites continue to be the most used and valued sites for consumers seeking credible and trustworthy local content and advertising online, according to a new survey conducted by comScore for the Newspaper Association of America.

Approximately 57 percent of the 3,050 respondents identified local newspaper Web sites as the top online source for local information -- ahead of the totals for all other media. That percentage grows for upper income households (63 percent) and for the college educated (60 percent).

The strength of local newspaper Web sites was made clear when respondents to the survey, entitled Site Matters: The Value of Local Newspaper Web Sites, were asked to identify sites they used most often for specific types of local content. Newspaper sites ranked first as a source for local information (29 percent), local sports (27 percent), local entertainment (26 percent) and local classifieds (39 percent), ahead of both local television Web sites and online portals.

“This important research provides further evidence of newspapers’ successful multiplatform transition, with the medium serving as a continuous local resource for consumers,” said NAA President and CEO John F. Sturm. “While newspaper Web sites often face dozens of competitors touting their own local offerings in any given market, they have been able to thrive by leveraging trusted brands and strong local content to appeal to consumers and advertisers alike.”

Local newspaper Web sites ranked first among all sources for trustworthiness, credibility and being the most informative place to find local content of all types – including news, information, entertainment, sports and classified advertising. When respondents were asked what sources were most trustworthy or reliable, local newspaper Web sites bested local television sites by twelve percentage points for local information (34 percent vs. 22 percent), by six points for local sports (30 percent vs. 24 percent), by 10 points for local entertainment (30 percent vs. 20 percent) and by 29 points for local classifieds (42 percent vs. 13 percent).

Most Trusted Source for Advertising.

The survey also found that consumers consider local newspaper Web sites to be the most trusted source of online advertising, with ads that are perceived to be more current, credible and relevant to them.

Four-in-ten adults (40 percent) agreed that their opinion of online advertising is influenced by the type of Web site on which the ad appears. Of those, local newspaper sites ranked first in trustworthiness of advertising. More than one-third (36 percent) selected local newspaper Web sites for trustworthy advertising compared to less than one-fourth (23 percent) for local television Web sites and less than one-in-eight (12 percent) for online portals. And local newspaper sites were the clear winner across all demographic categories – even among the younger 18 – 34 age group, leading the second-ranked television Web sites by 13 percentage points (35 percent vs. 22 percent), and online portals by 24 percentage points (35 percent vs. 11 percent).

“This survey reinforces the notion that consumers value and trust the premium-quality content found at newspaper Web sites as well as the advertising on those sites,” said Randy Bennett, NAA’s senior vice president of Business Development. “It also provides further evidence that newspapers, which attracted a record 75 million visitors in January, offer advertisers a high-value audience that no other medium can match.”

Other data from the comScore survey include:

Local Newspaper Web Sites are Most Informative: Newspaper Web sites ranked first in all five content types, edging out local television websites for local news (34 percent vs. 32 percent), with wider margins for local information (32 percent vs. 23 percent), local sports (30 percent vs. 24 percent) local entertainment (29 percent vs. 18 percent) and local classifieds (43 percent vs. 12 percent).

Local Newspaper Web Sites are Most Credible: Newspaper Web sites ranked first for being the most credible source, beating second-ranked local television Web sites for all content types, from local news (35 percent vs. 32 percent), local information (34 percent vs. 23 percent), local sports (30 percent vs.24 percent), local entertainment (30 percent vs. 19 percent) and local classifieds (43 percent vs. 13 percent).

Advertising on Local Newspaper Web Sites More Trustworthy: Nearly eight-in-ten respondents (78 percent) across all demographic groups rated “more likely to be current” as the top reason advertising on local newspaper Websites are most trustworthy. Credibility and local relevance were also important factors with close to 50 percent of respondents citing these attributes for reasons behind local newspapers advertising trustworthiness.

For more information at http://www.newspapermedia.com

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