Online Off Target For Magazines

January 17, 2003
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Apparently more Americans would rather read an honest-to-goodness paper magazine than a virtual one. At least that’s what 500 online respondents reported in a survey that offers good news to those in the printing and publication industries.

A study done last year by InsightExpress, an online marketing research firm, found that less than a third of the surveyed Internet users said they read online magazines (32 percent).

Their reasons? First, they said the online versions were an inconvenience to read (54 percent). Second, they disliked the online banner ads, pop-up ads and other general distractions that often accompany virtual magazines (47 percent). Third, the prices of online magazines were too high (43 percent). And, fourth, Web-based publications strained their eyes (23 percent).

The study even offered better news for printers and publishers as 73 percent of those surveyed said they wouldn’t trade a paper magazine for a virtual version, even if the price were cut in half.

Of the 500 surveyed, 63 percent said they have paid for subscriptions to paper magazines. But 80 percent of those subscribers reported that they expect online magazines to be free of charge.

The virtual version had one thing going for it, though. Almost six of 10 respondents felt that online publications provided more timely content. Still, just 22 percent said e-magazines offered higher quality content than the print versions.           

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