Eric May – Media Consultant




Decoding the web news audience


Just as the essential nature of the online medium is different from broadcast, print, cinema, or books, the online audience is different as well. 

The web news audience is... 

• Active not passive (“lean-in” not lean back)
• Searching / curious
• Distracted / bored / restless


• Know what they want

• Don’t know exactly how to find it
• When they find it they often share it

• Expect results immediately (or they will go away)

For traditional broadcasters resigned to an aging audience, the news about the online audience is surprisingly positive. Online news users are:

• Mostly young (under 45)
• Mostly men
• Mostly “higher educated” 

viewing mirrors the work day

The majority of the audience visits web news sites during working hours; the highest web ratings mirror the work day, with audience peaks at the beginning of the work day, around lunchtime, and just before quitting time (and sharp drop off during the weekends).