news-of-the-world-paper-mA report on PaidContent suggests that many readers of the News of the World Sunday paper, which shut down in July amidst the News Corp phone-hacking scandal, have not switched to reading any other Sunday newspapers.

The National Readership Survey estimated that 7,217,000 people read the paper in the period from January through June of this year, Of that number, 4,342,000 did not read any other Sunday paper. Subsequently, total readership of national Sunday papers fell from 19,221,000 to 15,859,000—meaning that 3,362,000 people stopped reading Sunday papers altogether.

The article doesn’t speculate on the causes, and at first it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with electronic reading. But on the other hand, how many of those people do you suppose were still subscribing to a paper out of a sense of inertia, and were getting as much or more news from on-line sources instead? Perhaps when News of the World shut down, they realized that they didn’t need to replace it with anything, because they were already getting their news from faster digital sources.

Perhaps this might also suggest that if and when print newspapers finally do go under altogether, most readers won’t miss them, because they’ll already be in the habit of getting their news from other sources.


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