Newspapers' local Web markets are vulnerable

According to ComScore Media Metrix, monopoly newspaper penetration of their home markets ranges from 4% of Web users in Philadelphia to 16.6% in Atlanta. I left off a couple of nonmonopoly markets and the Washington Times from the bottom, and the more-than-local Washington Post from the top of the list.

Given that major metros typically have around much higher penetrations of their home markets — especially among Internet users — this is a pretty pathetic performance for a free product. Local newspaper sites have plenty of useful local information, yet they can’t muster 20% of their home markets.

The era of repurposed online newspapers must end if newspapers are going to defend themselves against smaller, hungrier rivals.

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