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Online Newspapers Double-Digit Growth

Nielsen//NetRatings, a global leader in Internet media and market research, announced that newspaper Web sites grew 11 percent year-over-year to 39.3 million unique visitors in October 2005, comprising 26 percent of the active U.S. Internet population, or one out of every four Internet users. The 11 percent increase exceeds the growth of the active Internet universe as a whole, which rose three percent year-over-year.

This research follows on the heels of news of the recent six-month decline in average weekday print circulation among America's top 20 largest newspapers, as reported by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. According to Nielsen//NetRatings, among newspaper readers, 22 percent have shifted their readership preferences from offline to online sources. The majority of readers, 71 percent, still prefer print newspapers, while seven percent divide their time evenly between the two sources.

NYTimes.com was the top U.S. online newspaper site, with 11.4 million unique visitors in October 2005. USATODAY.com and WashingtonPost.com took the No. 2 and 3 spots with 10.4 and 8.1 million unique visitors, respectively. LATimes and SFGate.com rounded out the top five with 3.9 million unique visitors each.

More men than women read online newspapers; they constituted 56 percent of newspaper site readership in October, compared with women who made up 44 percent of online readers. People with an income between $100,000 and $150,000 and those with a bachelor's or postgraduate degree were also likely to visit online newspapers, comprising 21 percent and 52 percent of visitors, respectively.

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