The Average Newspaper Reader Is Now Older Than Ever

 Ad Age Digital  DigitalNext  MediaWorks Print is not ageing well. Or, rather, its readers are ageing rapidly.

That’s been suspected and alleged since digital media was born, of course, but the latest round of industrywide research revealed just how much has changed in the past five years.

The average age of magazines’ readers is catching up with the overall population. The median age of adults in the U.S. increased 1.3 years to 45.2 since spring 2004, according to the spring 2009 Mediamark Research report. But adult readers at the nearly 200 publications and publishing groups tracked in both studies saw their median age rise 1.6 years to 44. About 56% of the titles tracked in both years posted age increases higher than the general adult population’s.

The audiences at many titles, moreover, are getting older fast. The median reader age rose 3.7 years at the Sunday Chicago Tribune, for example, 3.9 years at Car and Driver, 4.1 years at U.S. News & World Report and 4.9 years at Penthouse, according to the research.

Some magazines and newspapers are even seeing their audiences age in real time — or faster. Readers’ median age has increased 6.6 years since spring 2004 at Motorcyclist magazine, 6.8 years at Street Rodder and 6.8 years at Motor Boating.

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