Urban Colombia Newsprint

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Even though newspapers are not as popular as television or radio, it remains an important source for news and information for much of urban Colombia. According to InterMedia's 2009 urban survey, 25 percent of respondents said they read a newspaper on a daily basis and 58 percent said they do so at least weekly.

El Tiempo and El Espectador are the two most popular newspapers in urban areas. Only El Tiempo, which is the most popular newspaper among urban Colombians, has a strong nationwide presence. There are an abundance of newspapers and magazines representing an array of ideological perspectives in Colombia, with a majority of them being local newspapers.

The popularity of websites of prominent print media providers has worked to enhance their image in the eyes of consumers. According to our survey, the most visited Colombian national newspaper on the internet is El Tiempo (www.eltiempo.com). Approximately 17 percent of urban Colombians surveyed visit the online version of El Tiempo at least weekly. Similarly, around 9 percent of those surveyed said they visited El Espectador (www.elespectador.com) at least weekly increasing the newspaper’s overall weekly readership by around 50 percent.

Chart 1

Newspaper readership appears to be linked to respondents' levels of education and socio economic status. Given Colombia’s high literacy rates, estimated to be 93 percent by the UNDP, the gap in weekly newspaper readership between education groups seems to be the result of socio-economic differences as opposed educational attainment.

Chart 2

Newspapers are generally acquired through a kiosk or are obtained from “voceadores”, people who sell and distribute the newspapers on the street. Newspapers cost on average 1,200 pesos (US$ 0.50) on weekdays (Monday to Saturday) and 3,500 pesos (US$1.75) on Sunday.

Colombia has been known for the high quality of its press and the state’s support for freedom of press. The sector is essentially free from governmental interference and is of high quality. However, in the last few years, newspaper readership has declined substantially.

The percentage of urban Colombians who use the internet as a source for news on a daily basis is now greater than those who read newspapers daily. About 32 percent of urban Colombians use the web daily as a source for news, versus 25 percent for newspapers. Given the increasing popularity of the internet as a source of information, almost all print media now have websites providing up-to-date news in Spanish.