When it comes to print, very little is black and white

There are many ‘obvious’ truths about the decline of print and the rise of the web. Except that, when you examine them, they’re not true at all… It’s obvious that if you buy a bulky Saturday paper, you won’t need one on Sunday. But, research shows, the print addicts who fork out £2 on Saturday tend to do just the same on Sunday.It’s obvious (2) that if you read your paper’s website, you won’t want to go out and get the same news on paper. As one kind of reading goes up, another goes down. Obviously. Except that doesn’t happen either. There’s no clear relationship between digital reading and printers’ ink flow, as research by media consultant Jim Chisholm shows. And if you want to take one more quick stab at this obvious dislocation, try April’s new unique browser and print copy purchase figures from ABC. The Mail in print is up 2.9% over March, but down 1.8% on the web; the Mirror up 1.46% in print, and up 17.4% on the web.It’s obvious (3) that as circulation declines, so the number of newspaper readers itself slides. Again, not so. Especially at the quality end of the market, the slump is down to regular readers just not buying their paper of choice so often. They haven’t given up: just cut back in a distracted sort of way.

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