Online Newspaper Readership Up 7.7 Percent

More than 59 million people visited U.S. newspaper Web sites during the second quarter of 2007, a 7.7 percent rise over last year, according to industry data released Monday.

The number amounts to 37.3 percent of active Internet users, according to the data that was compiled by Web tracking firm Nielsen//NetRatings for the Newspaper Association of America.

In addition, more than 60 million people visited newspaper Web sites in May, more than any month on record, the Newspaper Association said. The figure represents a 6.7 percent increase from May 2006, it said.

Newspaper publishers consider these numbers important as they try to convince businesses to invest more advertising dollars on their Web sites.

U.S. newspapers have posted steady declines in print advertising revenue, still the bulk of their operations, but they are looking increasingly to the Internet to make up for the shortfall.

But publishers are having a hard time convincing Wall Street that the change will come soon enough, particularly as the latest series of quarterly earnings released since last week show a further loss of advertising.

The Newspaper Association is also using advertising to counteract some of the erosion with a campaign called "Newspaper: The Multi-Medium" to persuade marketers to come back.

Two ads appearing this week in ad trade publications try to reinforce the notion that newspapers reach across media, from print to the Internet, and appeal to young readers coveted by advertisers.

The first ad says, "Newspaper New Media Or Old Media? Yes." The other says, "Study Shows 18-To-24-Year-Olds Like Ink On Paper Too."