Time magazine has a piece proclaiming the continued existence of newspapers, which is a nice observation (yes, they are still extraordinarily profitable relative to other types of business).
But in in a sidebar, Bob Mong, editor of the Dallas Morning News, is quoted:
"I'm 57. When I was 21, about 70% of people my age read a newspaper regularly. For people my age now, it's still about the same percentage."
No, that's not true. Not true at all.
When Bob Mong was 21, 70 percent read the paper yesterday.
Today, you have to murder the definition of regularly to get anywhere near that figure.
Here are the actual figures for the Dallas Morning News, from its
spring 2006 ABC Reader Profile. All editors -- and all new media people -- should be familiar with the ABC reports, which are freely available on the Web.
The ABC reader survey for the Dallas Morning News says only 50 percent of the Dallas-area adults in Mong's age bracket (55-64) get the DMN daily, and only 60% get it Sunday (the area "RSPA2" in the report).
Here's where that 70 percent number comes from: four-week cumulative "readership." In the ABC phone survey, 65 percent of Mong's age bracket self-reported having read the daily paper at least once in four weeks; 72 percent affirmed for the Sunday paper.
Once in four weeks? That's not regular, any more than advertiser-sponsored bulk circulation or USA Today's hotel deliveries are "paid" circulation. Let's not go fooling ourselves.
People in these so-called "loyal, core reader" age brackets are not the fossils they're made out to be. They have computers and wifi routers and computers -- often better equipment than their younger counterparts.
A study published last week showed that "nearly half (46%) of Apple's U.S. user base is 55 or older. " (Maybe they should quite making Macintoshes and start selling Granny Smiths.)
Pew says 71 percent of people aged 50-64 are using the Internet.
Like their younger counterparts, these "loyal, core readers" are using the Web as an interactive medium -- emailing, posting photos, occasionally blogging and joining in special-interest online communities.
They're not listening to Guy Lombardo and relaxing with the daily newspaper. It's later than you think.