Cross-Media Consumers Emotionally Attached to Sites

If you love your New York Times, you’re likely to love too, a new Online Publishers Association (OPA) study finds.

The research, conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates, looked at the behavior and attitudes of consumers who use both the on- and offline versions of a media brand.

Frequent visitors to media Web sites feel the same emotional connection with the online presence as they do with the offline property, according to the study. Seventy-two percent of those surveyed enjoy the media brand’s Web site; 71 percent trust it; 69 percent look forward to visiting it; 56 percent rely on it; and 47 percent miss it when they can’t access it. Related offline properties scored very similarly — a couple of points higher in some cases, a few lower in others.

“This research has significant implications for advertisers,” said Michael Zimbalist, executive director of the OPA. “By developing effective cross-media messaging, advertisers can take advantage of the considerable overlap in online and offline media brand usage.”

The study also found usage of media Web sites is becoming part of people’s daily habits. Forty-four percent of consumers say they frequently visit national news sites out of habit, and 23 percent say their visits are geared toward fun or just to relax. Other uses for national news sites were more conventional. Sixty-eight percent go to such sites to get national news. Others go for breaking news (64 percent), and international news (52 percent).

Not coincidentally, the OPA’s membership is primarily comprised of traditional media brands with online presences. Its roster includes Knight Ridder Digital, Belo Interactive, Scripps Networks, Tribune Interactive, the Wall Street Journal Online, The Hearst Corporation, and Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive. (Jupitermedia, the parent company of this publication, is also an OPA member.)

Magid Associates conducted the research through an online survey of nearly 26,000 users aged 18 to 54. The researchers used pop-up intercepts on 41 OPA member sites.

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