September 1, 2006

Alternative Weekly Readership by Age Group

18-24 year olds 25-49 year olds 50 years and older
1995 16.5 62.6 20.9
1996 14.6 60.7 24.6
1997 14.8 60.1 25.1
1998 14.2 59.3 26.4
1999 13.9 59.5 26.6
2001 13.8 59.1 27.1
2002 13.8 58.2 28
2003 14.5 57.6 27.9
2004 14.3 57.4 28.2
2005 14.8 56.9 28.2
2006 13.9 56.4 29.7

The aging of America's alternative weekly newspaper audience is a major issue in the industry. The audience for alternative weeklies is younger than for daily newspapers but these are hardly youth publications. The majority of readers are 25 to 49. Perhaps even more significant, the next biggest group is 50 and older, and this is the cohort that is growing. The number of readers under 25, meanwhile has shrunk slightly.

The aging of the alternative audience has not been a problem financially. While mainstream dailies have suffered audience declines, alternative weeklies have fared far better. Still, with a median age of 41, and 41% of alt weekly readers 45 and older the alternative weekiies face some interesting choices. .