Dutch people prefer internet news to newspapers, according to a recent survey.

Market research conducted by Interview NSS on behalf of IAB Nederland assessed the amount of time spent on television, radio, newsapers and the web by people in 1,200 Dutch homes.

Television rated first at 39 per cent, followed by radio at 37 per cent, the internet at 17 per cent, daily newspapers at 9 per cent and magazines at just 4 per cent.

Digital media was more highly favoured by the higher earners and the better educated among the survey sample.

Total newspaper circulation in the Netherlands dropped by 3.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2003 compared with the same period in 2002.

The situation reflects a growing concern worldwide that the business model for online news is not yet ready for a large-scale defection from print.

A report published in the US by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, "The State of the News Media 2004", summarises the situation.

"Economically, producers of web news are still trying to translate the rising number of people who get news online into the kind of profits to which traditional news media companies are accustomed," the report says.

"Some of the biggest news web sites are not yet breaking even. And the revenues that media companies do get from their web activities, while rising, account for only a small fraction of their overall revenue.

"Gannett makes more revenue from its newspaper division in a week than its online division makes in an entire year."

A detailed analysis of the search for a new model for online news (and one that might also save print publications) by Vin Crosbie of US consulting firm Digital Deliverance was published on ojr.org last month .

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