I conduct emedia sales training sessions for many B2B and consumer enthusiast media companies and in my training agenda (PDF file) is a section on how print and online work together from a seller’s perspective. One of the key points I stress is that there is very little overlap between the online audience and the print audience of a given brand. The research I have done with various publications shows there is typically 15% overlap between the two … sometimes a bit more sometimes a bit less.
As a seller this is gold! It means that your customers need to buy both print and online to reach all of their potential customers and is powerful ammunition to help them see the wisdom of a cross-media buy. BTW, for that 15% audience that overlaps, you can always use the Cross Media Optimization Study (CMOS) done a couple years ago to show that a message that hits an audience in multiple media is more effective than a message in a single medium.
Very interestingly, I just saw the news that Nielsen//NetRatings and Mediamark Research completed a study (PDF file) that looked at 23 large-circulation magazines and compared their print and online audiences. What did they find? An average of 83% of their web audiences only viewed the content online. That means that there is only around a 17% cross-over between the online and print audiences. Seems remarkably close to the 15% average that I’ve discovered when doing print/online audience cross-over studies for individual publications.
BTW, this may sound simple, but the easiest way to find the cross-over between your online and print properties is to conduct an online survey of your web audience. Kill two birds with one stone: ask a few demographic questions (you need the online demos anyway) and while you’re at it, be sure ask how many also subscribe to the print publication. Then use that data to go sell not only emedia, but more print as well.
And please share what you discover about the crossover between your online and print properties … I’m curious to know if the results are similar!