The audience reads different news stories online than in print, write Torbjörn von Krogh, of Mid Sweden University and Ulrika Andersson, of University of Gothenburg. The authors compared the results of a telephone survey on the readership of a Swedish newspaper, and that newspaper’s web page’s metrics from the same time period.
Print readers not only read more stories in absolute numbers, but they tend to go through larger portions of the entire paper, and look at a more varied selection of topics, the authors found. Print readers were also more interested in longer, more analytical pieces. Meanwhile, online readers focus on short stories about ongoing events, and stories displayed on the front page.
However, when the authors took into account the time spent with each online story instead of just page loads (or “clicks”), the results approached those of the telephone survey. This suggests future studies on online readership should also pay attention to reader focus, not just clicks, the authors conclude.
The article, Reading patterns in print and online newspapers, was published by the journal Digital Journalism. It is available online (abstract free).
Picture: Untitled by TheAngryTeddy, licence CC0 1.0.