The purpose of this paper is explain how the advent of the internet not only affects the way in which newspapers work, but also has an impact on readers' behavior. This research seeks to identify the readers' motivations as the key determinants of the attitude towards digital newspapers, and to analyse their impact on that attitude.
Qualitative studies are necessary to identify the motivations and establish the hypotheses, and a survey is applied to a representative sample of users. The scales are validated and refined, after which the hypotheses are tested by way of a structural equation model.
The results confirm the existence of positive significant relationships between motivations related to the knowledge of current news, search for specific information and search for updated news, with the favourable attitude to digital newspapers. However, entertainment as a motivation for reading impacts negatively on the readers' attitude. Also, habit as a motivation is more and more positively associated with the attitude towards the digital press.
The main motivations that influence the attitude to the new electronic dailies should be considered by the management with the aim of differentiating the digital channel. Thus, it could be possible to calm some fears re the cannibalism between digital and traditional channels in the journalistic sector. Accordingly this research points out that the knowledge of readers' needs and motivations could be a starting‐point for developing marketing strategies.
The research is one of the first studies that analyses internet user behavior on the part of press readership and employs the uses and gratifications theory for the journalistic business.
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