September 25, 2007 - Paper Cups
On Saturday at 11:00AM a member of the dedicated staff of edhat.com will be sitting on a panel at the Book and Authors Festival to discuss "What's Next For Newpapers". He will be joining such esteemed members of the local media scene like Craig Smith, Matt Kettmann, Jerry Roberts, and Jeramy Gordon. Doc Searls will moderate the panel.
In light of the upcoming event, Ed thought that it would be a good idea to do a survey - establishing the baseline of where we are, usually a good place to start when you want to figure out where you're going.
The Edhat survey yesterday was a coffee shop survey to see what newspapers the coffee class read with their morning cup of Joe. The study was a mad hatter's wild ride around town. Between 9AM and 10AM we visited a random selection of ten popular spots in a random order, randomly. Three of the spots were Starbucks. While we did our espresso dash through the crowded aisles of coffee land, we noted whether coffee shop patrons had computers and/or newspapers. If they had a newspaper on their table, we identified which one it was and whether or not they were reading it. If they had a computer on their table, we noted whether or not they were using it.
After observing a total of 100 coffee shop patrons we came up with the following conclusions:
1) Starbucks patrons were three times more likely to have a copy of the News-Press on their table (31%) than patrons at other establishments (10%).
2) The Daily Sound was the most unread paper - only 14% of people who had the paper at their table were actually reading it.
3) The LA Times was the most read paper - 80% of people who had it at their table were reading it.
4) More people had newspapers at their tables (33%) than computers (21%).
5) However, more people were working on a computer (17%) than reading a newspaper (14%).
6) Thanks to a strong showing at Starbucks, the News-Press was the paper that was most prevalent on the table (16%), and the one most being read (6%).
7) Peet's was the only place that we saw someone with a New York Times.
8) Peet's was also the only place that we saw anyone reading a Daily Sound.
The Edhat In House Statistician (IHS), who compiled the statistics above, was very adamant when he told Ed and the rest of the dedicated staff that interpreting the meaning of the numbers would be a slippery slope - one that might lose us some friends, and find us some enemies. The IHS advised that we just put the numbers on the page like art in a museum and leave their interpretation up to the vociferous crowd on the comments board.
And so we shall.
In yesterday's contest, two Edhat subscribers guessed 14% for the percent of people reading a paper. The Official Rules of Edhat state that when there is a tie of two, we let the sleeping dog lie, and award both winners a prize. Congratulations GinaF and Wayan. You have both won an Edhat t-shirt!