Effect of Growing Internet Newspapers on Circulation of Print Newspapers in the U. S. A paper submitted to 54 Conference of International Communication Conference for consideration for presentation th October 2003 ABSTRACT An Internet survey of publishers and online editors found that growth of the Internet newspaper yielded a slightly negative effect on print newspapers’ circulation. The findings suggest that the smaller the newspaper, the larger effect the Internet newspapers had on the print newspapers.
Small and medium-sized print newspapers showed obvious decreasing circulation since 1990 while the declining trend was not evident for large newspapers. The readership of the Internet newspaper had been considerably growing since 1995. However, scale of the circulation decline of print newspapers did not show evident replacing effect of the Internet newspapers. About half of the publishers and online editors did not regard the Internet newspaper as a major factor that reduced readership of print newspapers. Keywords: Online newspaper, relative constancy, replacing effect, newspaper circulation, Internet survey Effect of Growing Internet Newspapers on Circulation of Print Newspapers in the U. S. Early in 1986, when new interactive technologies had been available only for several years in the United States, Rogers pointed out that “their potential effect was quite high. ” He argued the new media were shaking the foundations of how communication could occur. The potential uses were intriguing and the scale of effects was “staggering. ”1 As the Internet newspaper developed in the early 1990s, enthusiasm for online newspapers led some media analysts to predict that “printed newspapers would disappear in the near future. 2 As the Internet grew, print newspaper users appeared to be shrinking. 3 Considering the advantages of the Internet newspaper over print newspapers, a question arises: Has the Internet newspaper already derived readers from print newspapers? The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of Internet newspapers on circulation of print newspapers in the United States since 1995. This study aims to find changes of print newspaper circulation and the Internet newspaper readership from 1995 to 2000 and the relationship between growth of the Internet newspapers and circulation of print newspapers.
LITERATURE REVIEW Effect of New Media Technology on Old Media New technologies bring new opportunities as well as threats to existing media. 4 Rogers discussed the effects of television on film and radio in the 1950s in the United States and noted that leisure time use was affected, as television grabbed huge gobs of time away from radio-listening, reading, and other activities. 5 In a study of the effect of new technology on existing mass media advertising revenues and consumer spending between 1929-1968, McCombs proposed the hypothesis of relative constancy.
He found that media spending by consumers roughly parallel the growth of consumers’ income. Consumer spending on mass media was constant over time. 6 The implication of this proposition for traditional media was clear: if new mass communication technology survived and thrived, it would be at the expense of traditional mass communication media. 7 However, more recent studies about new media technology suggested that the spending on new communication technology did not follow the trend of relative constancy.
These studies showed that total consumer spending on mass media during the diffusion of cable television and videocassette recorder increased rather than being relatively constant. 8 Wood also argued that constancy would fail as consumers devoted a greater share of income to buy new media technology. 9 Wood and O’Hare found that new video technology, such as VCR, was established without displacing the older mass media. 10 The results of these studies suggest that new media growth may not be at the expense of older media. As a new media technology, the Internet occurred in early 1970s, and is becoming a mass medium with unprecedented speed. 1 The new medium is not simply “a linear extension of the old. ”12 Compared to print newspapers, the Internet newspapers clearly enjoy some advantages. For example, this medium can deliver the news immediately; Internet sites can be updated whenever a reporter discovers more information. 13 The rapid growth of the Internet even changed the ritual of reading a daily newspaper. Once 2 newspaper reading was limited to the one serving people’s home city or town plus a national daily like The Wall Street Journal or USA Today. Now, however, local papers and any one of numerous newspapers from across the country are “only a few clicks away. 14 With all the advantages, the “virtual newspapers will become a competitive displacement for printed newspapers. ”15 Studies found some support for relative constancy with growth of the Internet newspapers. A survey by Editor & Publisher found that more than one third of the users of Web sites run by newspapers said they reduced their reading of print newspapers since going online. A survey conducted in Texas reported that among PointCast Users who are predominately business people, nearly half of them spend less time reading newspapers. 16
Effect of the Internet Newspaper on Print newspapers Researchers proposed that print newspapers and their online counterparts were characterized by head-on competition, and readers shifted from print to online. 17 A survey released in September 2000 pointed out that when users surfed online for local information, the first place they were likely to go was their local newspaper’s Web site. 18 Across the country, about 66% of the online readers in a representative sample knew about their local newspaper’s web sites. Another survey conducted by Barrett found that 67% of online readers frequently read newspapers on the Internet. 9 Early in 1996, Bittner predicted that the rapid growth of Internet newspapers was “the most important challenge facing newspaper publishing. ” Nearly half of American newspaper executives felt their papers could be harmed by Internet-based competition. 20 Some news executives said that readers would continue to adopt Internet newspapers for 3 news consumption with enthusiasm. 21 They predicted that digital news would soon be as important as or more important than the printed page. However, other studies revealed that the effect of the Internet on print newspapers was still slight at present. 2 An Internet usage study of adults 18 and over in the top 50 U. S. markets suggested that time spent on the Internet was not necessarily time taken away from newspapers; just 15% of respondents said they were reading less; another 8% said they were reading more, and 74% said their reading habits had stayed the same since going on the Web. 23 A survey by research consortium VIPer of AB graded 25-54-year-olds in economically active households also claimed that online newspapers weren’t reducing traditional readerships. 4 Of those questioned, 91% said that their readership of newspapers had remained the same despite the presence of a corresponding online version. The survey found that only 3% of those questioned had reduced their readership of national newspapers, and 86% rejected the idea that within 10 years they would be mainly reading their newspaper online. Changes in readership of print newspapers also varied by newspaper size. An Editor & Publisher survey found that about 30% of the users of Web sites run by newspapers with 250,000 circulation or higher said they reduced their reading of print newspapers since going online.
At papers with circulation under 250,000, only 20% of online readers said they were reading the print edition less. 25 During the startup period for Internet use, use of traditional media remained the same. 26 Later studies showed that there was a shift of readers from print to Internet newspapers. But more predictions were heard than hard evidence was found that Internet 4 newspapers were replacing print newspapers. Was the growth of the Internet newspapers associated with the decline of newspaper circulation during the past six to seven years?
To what degree did the growth of the Internet newspapers affect newspaper circulation? No previous studies addressed these questions which are critical to newspaper industries. While previous studies looked at the trend of newspaper circulation and readership changes, few of them examined the print newspaper circulation changes by taking into account the growth of the Internet newspapers. Newspaper circulation, which tallies the number of newspapers sold or distributed, has been the “prime gauge of market effectiveness” and “indicator of newspaper industry’s health”. 7 Unlike previous studies, this study analyzes newspaper circulation, page impressions and unique users of online newspapers during the 19952000 period. It also incorporates newspaper publishers’ perception when examining the changes of trend of print and Internet newspapers. Based on the previous studies of media transition and replacement and expansion of new media technology, this study aims to test two hypotheses and provide the answer to one research question. H1: The growth of Internet newspaper readership has a negative effect on the circulation of print newspapers.
According to Maxwell McCombs’s hypothesis of relative constancy and previous studies of effect of new media technology on existing media, it is expected that as the Internet newspaper readership grows, and fewer people buy and read print newspapers, the circulation of print newspaper declines. While more recent studies suggested emergence of new media technology may not be at the expense of older media, evidence 5 has to be found from the Internet news media. H2: The effect of Internet newspapers on circulation of print newspapers varies among ewspapers of different sizes. According to the circulation reports by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), circulation changes for newspapers of different size were not the same. Also, the literature indicated that the percentages of different-sized Internet newspaper users who said they reduced their reading of print newspapers since going online were different. Therefore, effect of Internet newspapers on circulation of print newspapers may vary among newspapers of different size. RQ: From publishers’ perspective, to what extent was the growth of the Internet ewspapers associated with the circulation decline of print newspapers? Considering the advantages of Internet newspapers over print newspapers, we expect that the Internet newspapers were changing traditional newspaper readers’ habit from reading a print newspaper to getting news from the Internet. The publishers monitored closely the circulation as the Internet newspapers grew. Their perception of effect of Internet newspapers on circulation of print newspapers provides supporting evidence to what circulation data will show.
METHOD This study used an Internet survey to collect data of the U. S. Internet newspapers and publishers’ perception of effect of Internet newspapers on print newspapers. This study focused on U. S. daily newspapers for three reasons. First, the U. S. newspaper industry is leading the world in Web publishing with 61 percent of all the existing 6 Internet newspapers. Second, the U. S. also leads in communication technologies and Internet accessibility. Third, the Internet is largely an English-speaking medium. 8 Although Internet newspapers started publishing in 1993, this study set the year of 1995 as the starting point. According to Newslink, at the beginning of 1994, only 28 U. S. newspapers were online, 29 while 1995 was “the right busy year in the burgeoning interactive newspaper industries. ”30 Conducting the study after 1995 would be sufficient to examine the overall effect of Internet newspapers on print newspapers. Sampling This study used stratified random sampling. A list of online newspapers from the web site of American Journalism Review (http://newslink. rg/daynews. html) was used as the sampling frame. It was considered one of the most reliable and up-to-date lists of online newspapers. 31 There were 1265 daily newspapers offering full online service in U. S. at the time of sampling. Taking the low response rate of Internet survey into account,32 the sample size of daily online newspapers should be large enough to ensure that there will be enough cases for data analysis. Fifty percent of the online newspapers were to be selected from each state by stratified random sampling to produce a representative sample.
However, according to American Journalism Review (http://newslink. org/daynews. html, accessed Jan. 2001), development of Internet newspapers in different states was not balanced. States like California and Pennsylvania had a large number of online newspapers, while other states such as Nevada, Montana and Vermont only had relatively few. Due to the imbalance of the number of online newspapers in different states, those states with fewer than five online newspapers were oversampled and at least five online newspapers were selected from each state. A sample 7 of 629 online newspapers was selected.
Key Concepts and Operational Definitions Page impressions: A page impression is defined as the combination of one or more files presented to a user as a single document as a result of a single request received by the server. 33 It is the exact number of times a specific Web site has been accessed or viewed by a user,34 also called page views. It is one of the industry standards to measure Internet newspaper readership. Page impressions are used to measure the number of actual pages of content displayed. Unique users: another industry standard to measure Internet newspaper readership.
Unique users are used to measure the number of different people who visit the site over a given period of time. A unique user is identified through an IP address plus a further identifier such as User Agent, Cookie and/or Registration ID. 35 Circulation: the number of print newspapers sold or distributed over a certain period of time. In the Editor & Publisher International Yearbook, the period is three months. The circulation of print newspapers was divided into three categories, small (below 10,000), medium (10,000 to 50,000) and large (above 50,000).
Publishers’ perception of effect of the Internet newspapers on print newspapers’ circulation: whether publishers of the Internet newspapers consider growth of the Internet newspapers affect print newspapers’ circulation. Publishers’ perception was measured with three items using Likert scale: 1) Internet newspapers have shifted traditional readers away from your print newspaper; 2) Internet newspaper users reduced their reading of your print newspaper since the start of the Internet newspaper; 3) As your Internet newspaper grows, the print newspaper circulation declines. 8
Data Collection A questionnaire was constructed to collect the data about the Internet newspapers. It contained questions on three aspects: 1) readership change of the Internet newspapers since the startup, including changes of page impression and unique users from 1995 to 2000; 2) number of staff change of the Internet newspapers since the startup; 3) publishers’ perceptions of effect of the Internet newspapers on print newspapers’ circulation. Twenty newspapers were first randomly selected from the sample for a pretest. A questionnaire was electronically mailed to their publishers or online editors.
The questionnaire was revised according to the six responses received. The questionnaire was then sent to the publishers and online editors of 629 newspapers via email. A followup reminder and another copy of the questionnaire was sent to non-respondents one week after the initial mailing. Among the 629 newspapers, 37 email addresses were not valid. They were thus excluded from the sample. By the deadline, 118 usable survey questionnaires were received from the Internet newspaper publishers and online editors in 48 states, which comprised a 20% response rate.
While the relatively low response rate was consistently with other Internet surveys, the majority of the states where Internet newspapers published were present, which gave nearly a full coverage of the geographic areas of the United States. The circulation data of the corresponding print newspapers five years before and after 1995 were collected from Editor & Publisher International Yearbook. 9 FINDINGS Circulation To examine circulation trend within the past eleven years, box plots were used. 36 The 118 newspapers were divided into three categories? small (below 10,000), medium (10,000 to 50,000) and large (above 0,000) according to the size of the average circulation of each newspaper from 1990 to 2000. The results showed the trend of circulation change of the small, medium, and large newspapers during the eleven-year period. Comparing the box ranges of the circulation across the years, small-sized newspapers did not show an evident growing or declining trend. By examining the medium lines within the box of small-sized newspapers, it was found that the circulation had been declining from 1990 to 2000 (-11. 7%), and declined more after 1995, especially during 1995 to 1996 (- 4. 5%).
This finding supports the proposition that the levels of circulation decline were different for the two periods: 1990-1995 (-3%) and 1995-2000 (9%). (Figure 1) The results showed the circulation of the medium-sized newspapers grew slightly from 1990 to 1991, and then showed a 14% decline through 2000 from its peak in 1991. For the medium-sized newspapers, there was no obvious circulation difference between the periods before and after 1995. For the large-sized newspapers, there was no declining trend in their circulation; instead, large newspaper circulation grew 7. 3% from 1995 to 2000.
Page Impressions and Unique Users The data of page impression and unique user of the Internet newspapers were 10 examined at three levels—small, medium, and large. Box plots outlined both the growing trends of page impressions and unique users. Whether looking from the point of medium line, the box range, or the whole range, all Internet newspapers’ (small, medium and large) page impressions increased substantially from 1995 to 2000. The page impressions of the Internet newspapers grew exponentially in 1997, as high as 1000% for mediumsized newspapers and 1900% for Large-sized newspapers.
The growing trend slowed down after 1999, but still at a rate of more than 50% each year. (Figure 2) Box plots also revealed that Internet newspaper unique users had been increasing in a similar pattern as page impressions for newspapers of all sizes since 1995, although the growing magnitude was not as substantial as page impressions. Insert Table 1 here Relationship Between Page Impressions/Unique Users and Circulation Log Linear Model was employed to examine the relationship between growth of Internet newspapers readership and the circulation of print newspapers.
Because the data were not normally distributed, the data were transformed to logarithms and a statistical model was built to test the association between the two variables. In addition, Log Linear Model was used for the special purpose of testing the relationships between the variables among time series data. Three Log Linear Models were built for the three newspaper groups—small, medium, and large, assuming that the marginal distribution of circulation for each newspaper since 1995 was different; circulation changed over time; and the circulation was influenced by the growing readership of Internet newspapers—page 1 impressions and unique users. Result about Hypothesis 1 Hypothesis 1, that the growth of Internet newspaper readership has a negative effect on the circulation of print newspapers, was weakly supported. The findings indicated that there was a slightly negative effect of the growth of Internet newspaper readership on circulation of print newspapers. Small-sized newspapers. The average page impression and unique user increases of the small-sized newspapers were 59,829 and 16,860. The results indicated that the relationship between circulation and page impressions or unique users was present.
Small-sized newspapers’ circulation decreased 1. 19% every year. Adjusting for time trend, every 100,000 increase in page impression led to 1. 43% decrease in circulation, and every 100,000 increase in unique users led to 1. 50% decrease in circulation. The findings of small-sized newspapers weakly support hypothesis 1 that the growth of Internet newspaper readership has a negative effect on the circulation of print newspapers. Insert Table 2 here Medium-sized newspapers. The average page impression and unique user increases of the medium-sized newspaper circulation were 1,559,396 and 585,855.
For medium-sized newspapers, there was also a relationship between page impressions/unique users and circulation. Medium-sized newspapers’ circulation decreased 0. 02% every year. Adjusting for time trend, every 10,000,000 increase in page 12 impression was associated with 3. 92% decrease in circulation, and every 10,000,000 increase in unique users correlated to 2. 86% decrease in circulation. The findings of medium-sized newspapers also support Hypothesis 1 that growth of Internet newspapers readership have a negative effect on circulation. Large-sized newspapers.
The average page impression and unique user increases of the large-sized newspapers were 2,882,068 and 1,391,861. The large-sized newspaper circulation was also influenced by page impressions/unique users. Unlike small and medium newspapers, the overall large newspaper circulation increased 1. 0% every year. Adjusting for time trend, every 10,000,000 increase in page impression was associated with 1. 70% decrease in circulation, and every 10,000,000 increase in unique users was associated with 1. 26% decrease in circulation. Therefore, for large newspapers, the findings also support the Hypothesis 1.
Result about Hypothesis 2 Since the coefficients between page impressions of Internet newspapers and print newspaper circulation showed clear differences among small, medium and large newspapers, findings support Hypothesis 2 that effect of Internet newspaper growth on circulation of print newspapers varies among newspapers of different sizes. In order to see how the effect of the growth of the Internet newspaper was different for different sized newspapers, the decrease percentages of circulation corresponding to average page impression increase in the years from 1995 to 2000 were calculated.
The average page impressions for the small, medium and large newspapers during 1995 to 2000 were respectively 59,829, 1,559,396, and 2,882,068. Results showed that every 59,829 increase in small online newspaper page impression led to 0. 85% decrease in circulation; 13 every 1,559,396 increase in medium online newspaper page impression led to 0. 61% decrease in circulation; and every 2,882,068 increase in larger newspaper page impression led to 0. 49% decrease in circulation. Therefore, the larger the newspaper, the smaller the effect of Internet newspapers on print newspapers’ circulation.
Publishers’ Perceptions of the Effect of the Internet Newspaper The data of the survey provided the answer to the research questions: from publishers’ perspective, to what extent was the growth of the Internet newspapers associated with the circulation decline of print newspapers? Forty-one percent of newspaper publishers agreed that their Internet newspapers had shifted some traditional readers away from the print newspapers; and 43% of newspaper publishers agreed that their current Internet newspaper users had reduced their reading of print newspapers.
The findings indicated that the Internet newspaper was associated with the circulation decline of print newspapers to a certain degree. However, more than half of the publishers did not agree Internet newspapers had shifted traditional readers away from the print papers. The results of the survey indicated that the Internet newspapers had been growing steadily. Fifty-six percent of the publishers said that their Internet newspaper staff had been increasing; 97% of publishers believed that Internet newspaper readership had been increasing since their newspapers went online.
Such results were consistent with the findings about growing page impressions and unique users. Twenty-six percent of the publishers agreed that as Internet newspapers grew, the circulation of print newspapers declined while 44% disagreed. This indicated that about one fourth of online newspaper publishers regarded the growth of the Internet newspaper as a factor accounting for the declining print newspaper circulation. 14 DISCUSSION This study analyzed the print newspaper circulation and readership of the Internet newspapers using page impressions and unique users of 118 U.
S. newspapers. It explored the relationship between the growth of the Internet newspaper readership and the print newspaper circulation. Moreover, this study employed newspaper publishers’ perception as a supporting argument. The results showed growth of the Internet newspapers had an effect on print newspapers. The findings indicated that Internet newspaper readership was growing dramatically since 1995 while the overall print newspaper circulation was declining. An increase in page impression was associated with a decrease of circulation for newspapers of all sizes.
But such negative effect on circulation of print newspapers since 1995 was not as significant as analysts predicted. In addition, more than half of the newspaper publishers disagreed that the Internet newspaper was reducing print newspapers’ circulation. The findings were consistent with Peng et al’s argument that the online newspapers were not greatly eroding traditional readerships. 37 The findings have important implications for the principle of relative constancy. More recent studies about new media technology suggest that new media growth may not be at the expense of older media.
This study explored a new type of media technology, the Internet newspaper. The findings support the arguments on relative constancy in the age of new media technology with new evidence. During 1995 to 2000, the readership of the Internet newspapers grew exponentially, while the newspaper circulation showed a decline trend, the degree of decline was far from remarkable. In the case of small and medium size newspapers, there was some decline, but not in a scale that showed evident 15 replacing effect of the Internet newspapers. In the case of large newspapers, instead of a decline, there was an increase of circulation.
Overall, as the Internet newspapers grew significantly during 1995 to 2000, the newspaper circulation incurred little changes. When embracing new media technology such as the Internet newspapers, consumers did not abandon print newspapers. It could be true that consumers are willing to spend an increased share of income on mass media in the age of new media technology. 38 The findings of this study showed limited effect of the growth of the Internet newspaper readership on newspaper circulation. Four reasons may account for this situation.
First, and the most important, Internet newspaper users were more likely to be those who read print newspapers quite often as well. The readership of online newspapers is composed of a special group of newspaper readers, those who read the same newspaper in its hard copy. 39 Pew Research Center surveys found that online audiences turned to news Web sites mostly to get information of specific interest to them rather than to browse the news and find out what’s happening. 40 Second, the Internet newspapers have not become as popular as print newspapers due to required access to the Internet.
When people were unable to have frequent access to the Internet, or had to spend more money on the Internet than buying a newspaper, a print newspaper remained a better option. Moreover, some people still preferred the feel of reading a print newspaper. The third reason is related to the nature of the Internet newspaper. Although the Internet newspaper was viewed as a new medium, most online newspapers remained complements to traditional print newspapers, despite that online services were expanding 16 rapidly. 1 The Internet newspapers reproduced the substance of their print editions in a way that relates similarly to readers. 42 An information-seeking model helps explain the greater newspaper use by Internet users, and this information-seeking behavior may run two ways. Internet users may turn to their newspapers or newspaper readers may go to the Internet for more information on a given topic. Either is possible sequentially as a supplemental information-seeking behavior. Fourth, the Internet newspaper is not the only news source on the Internet.
Readers often turn to other news sources such as MSNBC, CNN Interactive, Wired News, CNET, and Yahoo! News if they cannot find breaking news from their online newspapers. That may explain why the negative effect of the Internet on print newspaper has not reached a significant level. The findings suggest that the smaller the newspaper, the larger effect the Internet newspapers had on the print newspapers. Three factors may account for this phenomenon. First, larger print newspapers are more accessible than smaller ones.
They are more likely to be sold in neighboring places besides the one of origin. Thus larger newspapers own a more diverse readership group. Small newspapers do not possess many readers outside of its place of origin. Therefore, once a small portion of their readers turns to the online version, their circulation could go down more obviously than larger newspapers facing the same situation. Second, people are more likely to buy a larger print newspaper than a smaller one assuming that both are accessible.
Due to the different characters of the Internet and print newspapers, people may buy a print newspaper even if they read Internet newspapers. It 17 is rational that people buy a larger print newspaper because of the higher quality and wider scope of content while access the smaller newspapers online. Third, the circulation decrease of larger newspapers was not as serious as smaller ones in the past six years. Therefore, the effect on circulation looked smaller for larger newspapers. Stein pointed out that larger dailies were focusing more attention on improving editorial content and increasing circulation. 3 Increasing competition and new technologies are forcing all newspapers to revamp their goals, but small papers may be less able to adapt as they are facing more economic pressures. Larger newspapers have a competitive advantage because they benefit from economies of scale and can produce a newspaper for a much lower cost. Since the influence of the Internet newspaper was not remarkable according to the findings, other factors should also be taken into account when looking at declining newspaper circulation.
First, many newspapers raised circulation prices aggressively which depressed circulation, first to counter sluggish advertising performance during the recession in the early 1990s, then to offset rising newsprint costs in 1994 and 1995. Second, some newspapers eliminated circulation in areas distant from a newspaper’s home market, in the belief that such remote circulation was of little interest to local advertisers and therefore unprofitable. Both strategies had economically rational underpinnings, and both contributed greatly to the circulation declines. 4 Other online news sources such as Network TV news, cable news, radio, weekly publishing could also contributed to the decline. In addition, factors such as population changes and general penetration trends in newspapers may also account for the circulation decline. On the whole, newspaper publishers and editors considered the Internet little 18 threat to the industry. Only one third of publishers in this study agreed that their online operations had cut into circulation. Peng et. al. argued that the print newspaper would not be replaced by the Internet newspaper at least for the next ten years. 5 Instead, both print and online newspapers would flourish together. Chyi & Lasorsa also found that users did not view print and online versions of the same newspaper as competitive, an assumption from which many newspaper owners and editor appear to be operating. 46 One of the most important characteristics of an innovation in terms of its rate of adoption is its relative advantage. Users appear not to view online newspapers as superseding print newspapers, but instead they tend to view the two newspaper versions as complementing each other.
While obviously the use of Internet newspapers is growing at unbelievably rapid rates, the effect on print papers needs further observation. The Internet newspapers as a public news source, still mostly co-exist with print newspapers in the lives of online Americans. People’s news habits have not been affected much by the growth of the Internet newspapers. CONCLUSIONS This study defied the skeptics who have been proclaiming the demise of print newspapers since the dawn of the Internet age. 47 It also added some evidence about the argument of relative constancy in the age of new media technology.
The growth of new media may not be at the expense of the older media. The Internet newspapers were considered by many newspaper publishers an opportunity to help reverse the trend in declining readership rather than a threat to the print newspaper. With little chance of being replaced by the online version, the print newspapers could grow with the Internet 19 newspapers which are opening up broader prospects for the newspaper industry. The findings offered three tentative conclusions. First, the study found circulation of print newspapers has been declining since 1990.
There was no difference in circulation changes between the two periods: 1990-1994 and 1995-2000. The later was marked by the popularity of Internet newspapers. Although the declining trend was not evident for large newspapers, the majority of print newspapers showed obvious decreasing circulation. Second, the study revealed that the readership of Internet newspaper was considerably growing since the Internet newspapers established their Web presence. Third, there was a slightly negative effect of Internet newspapers on circulation of print newspaper. The Internet newspapers weren’t eroding traditional readerships significantly.
While 43% of the publishers agreed that Internet newspapers had reduced readership of print newspapers, 44% of the publishers did not consider the growth of the Internet newspaper a factor for the decreasing circulation. This study offered some evidence on the effect of the Internet newspaper on circulation of the print newspaper. The Internet newspaper as a new medium is still developing as more technological innovations are implemented. It could be just another vehicle for accessing the same information or it may become a completely different medium for delivering information from all existing media.
The consequences of such innovations and the effect of growth of the Internet newspapers on print newspapers are still largely unknown. From this viewpoint, the knowledge of the effect of the Internet newspaper on the print newspaper will be key to understand the future dynamics of the media. Due to the relatively low response rate of the Internet survey, the findings of the 20 study have limitations in explaining the effect of Internet newspapers on print newspapers’ circulation. Only publishers and online editors were surveyed on their perception of the relationship between print and the Internet newspapers.
It was possible that publishers were uncertain as there was too much unknown with the development of new media technologies. It was also possible that some publishers were unwilling to admit the negative effect of Internet newspaper on print newspaper circulation. Further studies could aim at a higher response rate using alternative methods, and expand exploring scope from publishers to readers to add up to the understanding of the relationships between the growth of the Internet newspapers and changes in print newspapers. 21 22
Table 1: Changes in Average Circulation of Print Newspapers and Page Impression of the Internet newspapers Year 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 Small Circulation Page Imprn 7377 N. A. 7485 7270 7302 7162 7162 6839 6731 6624 6656 6516 N. A. N. A. N. A. N. A. 500 1000 1500 3500 5250 8750 Medium Circulation Page Imprn 21253 N. A. 23841 22978 21253 21253 21253 20649 20908 21253 21253 20390 N. A. N. A. N. A. N. A. 1000 6000 70000 405000 1350000 2025000 Large Circulation Page Imprn 84033 N. A. 84033 90700 90700 97368 90700 90700 90700 84033 90700 97368 N. A. N. A. N. A. N. A. 525 15250 305000 2287500 5337500 8387500 23 Table 2: Relationship between Page Impression/Unique User and Circulation Coefficient Small Time Page Impression Unique User Constant Medium Time Page Impression Unique User Constant Large Time Page Impression Unique User Constant Std Error P value 95% Confidence Interval -. 0119177 -1. 43e-07 -l. 50e-07 32. 64 .0002688 8. 35e-09 2. 62e-08 0. 54 0. 001 0. 001 0. 001 0. 001 -. 0124445 -l. 59e-07 9. 89e-08 31. 58 -. 0113908 -l. 27e-07 2. 02e-07 33. 69 -. 000206 -3. 92e-09 -2. 86e-09 10. 61 .0000982 8. 92e-l1 1. 14e-10 0. 21 0. 036 0. 001 0. 001 0. 001 -. 0003985 -4. 10e-09 2. 3c-09 10. 21 -. 0000136 -3. 75e-09 3. 08e-09 11. 02 .0103729 -1. 70e-09 -1. 26e-09 -8. 72 .0000603 252e-1 I I. 94e-1l 0. 18 0. 001 0. 001 0. 001 0. 001 .0102546 -l. 75e-09 -l. 30e-09 -9. 06 .0104911 -1. 65e-09 -l. 22e-09 -8. 17 24 1 Everett M. Rogers, Communication technology: the New Media in Society. (New York : Free Press, 1986). 2 Frank McCulloch, “The Real Competition: Old-fashioned Newspapers,” Nieman Reports, 49, No. 2, 1995, 56. 3 Guido H. Stempel III, “Relation of Growth of Use of the Internet to Changes in Media Use from 1995 to 1999,” Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 77, No. 1, (Spring 2000). 71-79. Foo Yeuh Peng, Naphtali Irene Tham, and Xiaoming Hao, “Trends in Online Newspapers: A Look at the US Web,” Newspaper Research Journal, 20, No. 2 (Spring 1999), 52-63. 5 Everett M. Rogers, Communication technology: the New Media in Society. (New York : Free Press, 1986). 6 Maxwell McCombs, “Mass Media in the Marketplace,” Journalism Monographs (August 1972). 24. 7 Rebekah V. Bromley and Dorothy Bowles, “Effect of Internet on Use of Traditional News Media,” Newspaper Research Journal, 16 No. 2, (Spring 1995), 14-27; Maxwell McCombs and C Byal, “Spending on Mass Media,” Journal of Communication, 30, No. 1, 1980, 153-158. Michel Dupagne, “Testing the Relative Constancy of Mass Media Expenditures in the United Kingdom,” Journal of Media Economics, 7, No. 3, (1994), 1-14; Jack Glascock, “Effect of Cable Television on Advertiser and Consumer Spending on Mass Media,” Journalism Quarterly, 70, (1993), 509-517; Jinok Son & Maxwell McCombs, “A Look at the Constancy Principle under Changing Market Conditions,” Journal of Media Economics, 6, No. 2, (1993), 24-36. 9 William C. Wood, “Consumer Spending on the Mass Media: the Principles of Relative Constancy Reconsidered,” Journal of Communication, 36, No. 2, (1986), 39-51. 10 William C.
Wood & Sharon L. O’Hare, “Paying for the Video Revolution: Consumer Spending on the Mass Media,” Journal of Communication, 41, No. 1, (1991), 24-30. 11 Christine Ogan and Merrill Morris, “The Internet as Mass Medium,” Journal of communication, 46, No. 1, 1996, 39. 12 Wilson Dizard, Old Media New Media. (2nd ed. ), (New York: Longman, 1997). 13 Christopher Harper, “Online Newspapers: Going Somewhere or Going Nowhere? ” Newspaper Research Journal, 17, No. 1/2, (Summer/Fall 1996), 2-13. 14 Hsiang Iris Chyi and Dominic Lasorsa, “Access, Use and Preferences for Online Newspapers,” Newspaper Research Journal, 20, No. , 1999, 14-27. 15 Mark Fitzgerald, “The Effect of the Internet on Print Journalism,” Editor & Publisher, 129, No. 15, (April 1996), 72. 16 Steve Outing, “New Media Cutting into Old Media,” Editor & Publisher, 131, No. 1, (January 3, 1998), 43. 17 Hsiang Iris Chyi and George Sylvie, “Competing with Whom? Where? And How? A Structural Analysis of the Electronic Newspaper Market,” The Journal of Media Economics, 2, 1998, 1-18. 18 Jennie L. Phipps, “Can Newspapers Stay Strong Online? ” Editor & Publisher, (October 2000). 19 L. Barrett, “Status report: U. S.
Newspapers Online,” The Business Journal, (April 1997). 20 , J. Bittner, Mass Communication (6th ed. ), (Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon, 1996). 21 J. Gleick, “Read All about It,” Time, 148, No. 19, 1996, 66. 22 Foo Yeuh Peng, Naphtali Irene Tham, and Xiaoming Hao, “Trends in Online Newspapers: A Look at the US Web,” Newspaper Research Journal, 20, No. 2 (Spring 1999), 52-63. 23 Mark Fitzgerald, “Readership Measure Grows in Importance,” Editor & Publisher, 132, No. 46, (November 1999), 33. 24 Author unknown, “Online Newspapers Aren’t Replacing Print,” New Media Age, (October 2000), 56. 5 Mark Fitzgerald, “Readership Measure Grows in Importance,” Editor & Publisher, 132, No. 46, (November 1999), 33. 26 Rebekah V. Bromley and Dorothy Bowles, “Effect of Internet on Use of Traditional News Media,” Newspaper Research Journal, 16, No. 2 (Spring 1995), 14-27. 27 Mira Schwirtz and Perrucci Dori, “Deconstructing Circulation,” Mediaweek, 8, No. 20 (May 1998), 8-10. 28 Foo Yeuh Peng, Naphtali Irene Tham, and Xiaoming Hao, “Trends in Online Newspapers: A Look at the US Web,” Newspaper Research Journal, 20, No. 2 (Spring 1999), 52-63. 29 Eric K. Meyer, “An Unexpectedly Wider Web for the World’s Newspapers,” NewsLink, 5 , July 2003. 30 Steve Outing, “Hold on (line) Fight,” Editor & publisher, 129, No. 7 (February 17, 1996), 41. 31 Tanjev Schultz, Interactive Options in Online Journalism: A Content Analysis of 100 U. S. Newspapers, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 5, No. 1, 1999, http://www. ascusc. org/jcmc/vol5/issue1/schultz. html, July 2003. 32 An email survey of online U. S. daily newspapers achieved a 27% response rate. Foo Yeuh Peng, Naphtali Irene Tham, and Xiaoming Hao, “Trends in Online Newspapers: A Look at the US Web,” Newspaper Research Journal, 20, No. 2 (Spring 1999), 52-63. 3 International Federation of Audit Bureau of Circulation, Web Measurement Standards, http://www. ifabc. org/web/index. html. 34 Webopedia, http://www. webopedia. com/TERM/P/page_impression. html. 35 International Federation of Audit Bureau of Circulation, Web Measurement Standards, http://www. ifabc. org/web/index. html. 36 A box plot extends from the 25th percentile (X) to the 75th percentile, the so-called interquartile range (IQR). The line in the middle of the box represents the median or 50th percentile of the data. The lines emerging from the box are called the whiskers and they extend to the upper and lower adjacent values.
The upper adjacent value is defined as the largest data point less than or equal to X+1. 5*IQR. The lower adjacent value is defined as the largest data point greater than or equal to X-l. 5*IQR. Observed points more extreme than the adjacent values, if any, are referred to as outside values and are individually plotted. 37 Foo Yeuh Peng, Naphtali Irene Tham, and Xiaoming Hao, “Trends in Online Newspapers: A Look at the US Web,” Newspaper Research Journal, 20, No. 2 (Spring 1999), 52-63. 38 William C. Wood & Sharon L. O’Hare, “Paying for the Video Revolution: Consumer Spending on the
Mass Media,” Journal of Communication, 41, No. 1, (1991), 24-30. 39 Foo Yeuh Peng, Naphtali Irene Tham, and Xiaoming Hao, “Trends in Online Newspapers: A Look at the US Web,” Newspaper Research Journal, 20, No. 2 (Spring 1999), 52-63. 40 Andrew Kohut, “Internet Users Are on the Rise; But Public Affairs Interest Isn’t,” Columbia Journalism Review, 38 No. 5 (January 2000), 68. 41 Gregg Keizer, “Read All about It Online,” Computer Life, 2, No. 6 (June 1995), 50. 42 Kevin G. Barnhurst, News Geography & Monopoly: The Form of Reports on US Newspaper Internet Sites, Journalism Studies, 3, No. , (November 2002), 477-489. 43 M. L. Stein, “Goals Shift,” Editor & Publisher, 131, No. 5 (1998), 16. 44 John Morton, Saving Money, But at a Price, American Journalism Review, 19, No. 1, (1997), 52. 45 Foo Yeuh Peng, Naphtali Irene Tham, and Xiaoming Hao, “Trends in Online Newspapers: A Look at the US Web,” Newspaper Research Journal, 20, No. 2 (Spring 1999), 52-63. 46 Hsiang Iris Chyi and Dominic Lasorsa, “Access, Use and Preferences for Online Newspapers,” Newspaper Research Journal, 20, No. 4, 1999, 14-27. 47 Tony Case, “Fit to Print,” MediaWeek, 10, No. 37 (2000, September), 38. 26