The Buffalo News and its Web site, Buffalo.com, lead the nation in the percentage of readers age 18 and older in the market who read the newspaper or visit the Web site, according to a newly released audit.
The News' combined print and Web offerings reached 86.9 percent of the market during the month when the survey was conducted by International Demographics, a media survey company.
Bob Jordan, president of the Houston-based survey company, said the audit of 84 media markets included the nation's top 50 markets and 34 others. It was done in late 2005 and early this year.
The other newspapers that ranked in the top five for combined print/Web market share were:
New Orleans Times-Picayune, 86.8 percent; Omaha World-Herald, 85.7 percent; Wisconsin State Journal/Capital Times in Madison, 85.2 percent; and the Toledo Blade, 85 percent.
The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle ranked 12th at 80.3 percent and was the only other New York paper in the ranking.
The percentage reported in the survey includes people who read the paper during the previous five weekdays or on one of the previous four Sundays, and all those who had viewed the Web site, Buffalo.com, during the previous month. Anyone who read both the paper and the Web site was counted just once, Jordan said.
Dottie Gallagher-Cohen, The News' vice president, marketing, said the combined strength of the newspaper and the Web site builds on a tradition of being the region's primary information source.
"Our goal is to serve our readers and our viewers and give the information they want and need in any form they desire it," she said. Improvements coming to the Web site in 2007 will build on this ability, she said.
The audit showed The News and its Web site reached 776,100 of the 893,500 adults in the market during the survey period. Of those people, 503,600 (56.4 percent) read just the paper; 30,200 (3.4 percent) looked at just the Web site, and 242,300 (27.1 percent) looked at both the paper and
the Web site.
"If an advertiser needs to reach the WNY market place, they can reach them through us," Gallagher-Cohen said. "In a fragmented media landscape, we still deliver that for our advertisers."
The report is considered positive for the newspaper industry, which has struggled with declining circulation numbers.
"According to the Newspaper Association of America, daily newspaper Web sites have experienced their 10th consecutive quarter of double-digit increases, with advertising spending growing by 23 percent to $638 million in the third quarter, versus the same period a year ago," the audit said.
The survey also noted the top newspaper Web sites. Madison.com of the Wisconsin State Journal ranked as the top site with 41.1 percent of adults in the area visiting the site during a 30-day period. Madison.com supplanted Washington.com, the previously top-ranked Web site of the Washington Post, which had 40.1 percent readership.
Other top Web sites were: Mysa.com of the San Antonio Express-News (39.4 percent), Omaha.com of the Omaha World-Herald (36.1 percent), and Cincinnati.com of the Cincinnati Enquirer (35.9 percent).