29 March 2007

Internet articles are read more thoroughly than print

Whoa! Here's another myth busted, for those PRs who still think newspapers have more influence than online media...

It turns out that where most people (me included) assumed that Internet users have a shorter attention span than traditional book/newspaper/magazine readers, in fact they read articles online more thoroughly.

These are the results of Poynter's EyeTrack07 study, presented yesterday to the American Society of Newspaper Editors in Washington, D.C. The study tracks the eye movements of readers as they read news content. (see report)

Basically, because they select what they want to read ('pull' rather than 'push'), they read an average of 77% of the article, compared to 62% in broadsheets and 57% in tabloids.

I wonder too, if online articles tend to be shorter than print versions? Which would make it easier to read more. Perhaps there's a note for online editors there. Perhaps we/they don't need to keep online content shorter.

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