Vail Daily readership survey shows strength, areas that need work

EAGLE-VAIL — The most recent Vail Daily reader survey shows both strengths and where the publication needs to improve. The survey was conducted late last year over about 10 weeks and focused only on print readership.

The survey was conducted by Hill Aevium, an Edwards-based advertising, marketing and market research firm. Hill Aevium president Linda Hill said while it has been a long time since the firm did a survey for a newspaper, the methodology is similar when surveying newspaper readers or hotel customers. Hill said those surveys serve a customer base, break customers into segments and provide insights from people who may or may not be customers right now.

The survey results were impressive, Hill said. Readers — split between locals, second-home owners and visitors — were asked about their satisfaction with the Vail Daily, and gave generally high scores. Readers in the visitor group gave the highest scores. Local news and breaking news topped the list of priorities for locals. Local news and the local entertainment and events calendar were priorities for second-home owners and entertainment/calendar and local news were most important for visitors.

Compared to subscription-based publications, Hill said the Vail Daily is “breaking all the norms” in the current newspaper landscape. As opposed to subscription-based newspapers, the Vail Daily has a lot of readers, and those readers are a loyal group.

Over the course of a week, about 90 percent of locals surveyed read the print edition at least one day. That number is 87 percent for second-home owners and 43 percent for visitors. This results in 39,000 readers on the average day, which increases to 61,000 over three days due to reaching more visitors in town.

Vail Daily Publisher Mark Wurzer said it was important to have an “independent, statistically valid, third-party survey.”

The idea, Wurzer said, was to “get a true handle on readership” as well as feedback from readers. An independent survey is also important to demonstrate to advertisers the value of reaching Vail Daily readers.

The  survey also sought comments, and hundreds of people offered opinions, both good and bad.

Here’s a sample:

“Generally a good newspaper with good coverage of local news. Important to have you around!”

“Love paper. Weekly entertainment is important to us. Also like local news.”

“I would like to see more in-depth coverage of local issues that matter to residents.”

“Please update your website. Hard to navigate, looks like it is from 2005.”

“(Please) try to be neutral politically. The editorials are very left-leaning.”

“Wish you would go out a little more on the calendar not just stuff in the next few days.”

“Rely less on the AP for your news, we’ve already heard it or read about it.”

“Please work on proofreading!”

Wurzer said the comments, good, bad and indifferent, were an important part of the survey.

Those comments “Point out what people value and want to see improved,” Wurzer said. “We hear you… we always want to be improving for both our readers and advertisers.”

While the survey only focused on the print edition, the Vail Daily tracks the audience carefully. In February, the Vail Daily’s website saw 263,000 unique visitors and 918,000 page views. The Vail Daily will be launching a new website on March 20.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at or 970-748-2930.


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