New Paper Reading: The Explaining Factors of Newspaper Reading Behavior of Young Adults
MASTER THESIS Master Psychology
Herman Wolswinkel November 27th, 2008 University of Twente Dr. A. Heuvelman Dr. O. Peters
Newspaper Reading Among Young Adults 2 Abstract Paid newspapers are no longer able to attract young new readers. They are in competition with new media like the Internet. On the contrary, free newspapers gather lots of young readers. The question arises which variables explain newspaper reading behavior of young adults, and whether there is a difference between paid newspaper readers and free newspaper readers. This research tested reading variables among 245 Dutch young adults via a questionnaire. Results show that newspaper reading does not depend on young adult’s surveillance needs. Facilitating conditions are very influential in newspaper reading time. When newspaper reading is made easy to young adults, they tend to read them, regardless of their real interest in the news subjects.
Newspaper Reading Among Young Adults 3 Introduction The fast advance of television a few decades ago and the Internet in the last decade has changed people’s media consumption patterns. Different media are in a continuous time battle with each other. This is also true for news media. The traditional medium, like a newspaper is, is put into an underdog position. This development earns more detailed research, especially among the future generation. This research has its focus on young adult’s newspaper reading time. For many years now, the circulation figures of paid newspapers are declining. Since free newspapers entered the market in the Netherlands, the circulation of paid newspapers decreased with more than 750,000 copies in the period between 1998 and 2006 (PersMediaMonitor, 2007). While the paid newspapers are in tough times, free newspapers are booming. Within 9 years the spread circulation has risen to 1,450,000 copies each working day. This trend, the fall of paid newspapers and the rise of free newspapers, is seen around whole Western Europe and the United States (Lauf, 2001; Peiser, 2000; Gustafsson & Weibull, 1997). In the last quarter of 2007, the circulation of free dailies exceeded the circulation of paid newspapers. The question arises who read those 1,450,000 copies of free newspapers each day. Bakker (2002) mentioned three options: by substitution, by accumulation (double reading) or by new readership the free newspapers can gather their readers (see Figure 1). It is important to know to what extent the two kinds of newspapers are substitutes (Picard, 1989; Bardoel & Van Cuilenburg, 2003). These facts reveal that free newspapers are serving a need of readers that has not been met by traditional paid newspapers. This could have serious consequences for the future of paid newspapers. Used to read paid newspapers Substitution Readership of free newspapers Did not read paid newspapers New readers
Current readership of paid newspapers No change Do not want to read free newspapers Accumulation
Figure 1. Short-term effects of the introduction of free newspapers (Bakker, 2002). Comparing the loss of paid copies and the rise of free copies, the increase of free newspapers exceeds the decrease of paid newspapers. In his 2004 research, Bakker (2004) calculated a loss of 70,000 copies for paid newspapers against a total amount of 700,000 copies of free newspapers each day that time. Substitution could only be partly responsible for the decline in paid newspapers and the rise of free newspapers. Therefore, cumulation and new readership must be important developments to explain the success of free newspapers. That new readership plays a significant role is shown by Arnoud and Peyrègne (2002). They
Newspaper Reading Among Young Adults 4 found that from the readers of the London (UK) Metro half of them was formerly...