For a change, it looks like newspapers have something going for them the blogosphere doesn't: fear of change. According to an Ad Age survey published today, 37 percent of newspaper subscribers say they keep their subscription out of habit. Not the most encouraging statistic for the beleaguered newspaper industry until you delve a tiny bit deeper into the numbers. Those the newspapers have kept still buy their dailies for their original content. Subscribers identified local news coverage (85 percent), columnists (33 percent), and obituaries (35 percent) as draws to keeping their papers. In fact, only 7 percent gave "habit" as their main reason for still subscribing.
Of course, newspapers' audiences skew older. So those in the habit of subscribing to paper are also likely to give way to newer online readers at some point. Ad Age pointed out another emerging threat to newspapers' revenue streams: deal-of-the-day coupon websites. Two-third of subscribers bought their papers in part for the coupons, according to the survey. Will they still have that as a reason once more of them join Groupon?