NYT columnist: “I could not name you an under-25 year old who subscribes to a print newspaper”

New York Times personal technology columnist David Pogue said at the weekend that he could not name an under-25 year old who subscribes to a print newspaper. Is he right?

He made the remarks, the exact quote being “I Could Not Name You An Under-25 Year Old Who Subscribes To A Print Newspaper” according to the blog the NYTnitpicker, whilst speaking at Book Summit 2010 in Toronto on Friday during his keynote speech on “Reading: The Next Chapter”.

Well it doesn’t look like he expects much of a next chapter in print.  The circulation numbers speak for themselves. In the last year, circulation at The New York Times has dropped 8.5%  on weekdays, to 950,000 and is down on Sundays by 5.2% to 1.4 million.

We don’t tend to subscribe so much to newspapers this side of the Atlantic, but likewise I don’t know many people in that age group who actually BUY newspapers. Period.

Besides if you live in London you get two free newspapers a day. You have the Metro and the Evening Standard, which is moving ahead with its plans to boost its free circulation to as high as 700,000. Add to that free magazines such as Stylists and Shortlist, which are aimed squarely at that age group, then you get a picture of a group immersed not in paid but in free content. How do you make them switch? Is it even possible?

Pogue never said how he rates The New York Times’ chances of making its paid content plans work, but you have to guess that he doesn’t rate the paper’s chances too highly.

If the only people who buy newspapers in large numbers, and are prepared to pay online, are the over 25-year old age group then paywalls are going to have some serious issues when so many free alternatives still exist.