Home JupiterResearch Blogging: RSS Readers: Part 2

JupiterResearch Blogging: RSS Readers: Part 2

Last week I started my review of a JupiterResearch report entitled RSS
Readers: Addressing Market Opportunities with an Innovative News Medium
. I covered
the first couple of pages of the report, in which JupiterResearch asked: What Is RSS and
Where Is It Used? I was interested to see what Michael Gartenberg from JupiterResearch,
the Lead Analyst on this report, would say in
response to my initial post
. Apart from calling me Roger throughout (“Roger was a
little perturbed…”), he did address my concern about whether the report was dismissive
about weblogs:

“Nothing could be further than the truth and I think our commitment to the serious
nature of weblogs in business is pretty well documented. No one blogging in their pajamas
here at the office 🙂 We do note the RSS phenomenon came directly as a result of the
weblog phenomena but it’s gone beyond that.”

Fair enough. And yes Michael did quickly fix up the “Roger” faux pas 🙂


So to the next part of the report. Page 3 had a chart and some analysis with the
heading ‘Market for RSS Newsreaders Equal in the Home and Business’. The question asked of
respondents was: “Which of the following applications installed on your primary home or
work computer do you use monthly or more frequently?”. The options given were: Search
toolbar, desktop search app, RSS newsreader app, RSS newsreader service, and “None”.

Both types of RSS newsreaders had the same figures – 5% of respondents used them at
work and 6% at home. I found it interesting that the same percentage of respondents used desktop RSS newsreaders and web-based newsreaders – this is worth tracking in the coming months and years. Will one of desktop or web-based start to pull ahead? My money’s on web-based, but valid arguments can be made either way.

Back to the report… the use of RSS newsreaders paled into comparison with the search toolbar (62% home, 27%
work). So all in all, RSS newsreaders in both desktop and web variety are still very much
a minority tool – 12% of consumers use a variety of RSS newsreader, according to this
report. But JupiterResearch notes:

“While the overall number of consumers who use RSS readers is small, this market is
growing due to a wide variety of choice in terms of content and sources, along with the
increased awareness of the weblog phenomenon by mainstream consumers.”

While this rings true, I couldn’t see any evidence to back it up. How do they know the
market is growing and that there is “increased awareness”?


Turning now to page 4, where the report analyzes the demographic profile of RSS users.
Here the demographics of RSS Users is compared to those of Online users. We find out that
the female to male ratio is higher for RSS Users – 55% are female, 45% are male. It’s 51%
female, 50% male for Online users (I presume the extra 1% is due to rounding). So that is
a surprise, especially given all the recent talk about the lack of attention for female bloggers.

For the age demographics, more 18-24 year olds use RSS (23% compared to a 14%
representation online). But 35+ is still the number 1 age group both with RSS users and
online (56% are RSS users, compared to 64% online). 25-34 years are 22% in both RSS and
online averages. JupiterResearch notes that:

“Unlike many Internet technologies, such as IM, RSS appeals to both the young and old.
Forty-five percent of RSS users are between the ages of 18 and 34. Given the widespread
popularity of RSS, readers of all age groups should be targeted to use RSS feeds and

I take this to mean that no specific age group can be targeted at the expense of the
others. But the question remains: does each age group have different uses for
RSS newsreaders? For example, it’s well known that LiveJournal is extremely popular
amongst young people and it’s mainly used as a social tool. Whereas older people (and I
include myself in this, even though I fit in the middle demographic right now) are more
likely to use RSS newsreaders to keep up with news and business. The JupiterResearch
report doesn’t address any of those issues, but I suspect marketers would want to find
out about it.

Page 4 also refers to income and Net experience, and broadband vs dial-up. RSS users
are slightly richer and more have broadband (41% have broadband, compared to 33% online
avg). Somewhat surprising is the Net experience figures, which show that more “newbies”
and “intermediates” use RSS than the online average (25% for RSS users, compared to 17%
online average).

JupiterResearch finishes page 4 with this comment:

“To drive growth, vendors must communicate the benefits of RSS to newer users,
explaining the technology and the process of setting up and subscribing to RSS

That’s followed by advice to ditch the orange ‘XML’ button – which every RSS techie
knows we have to do… we just don’t know what to replace it with, apart from multiple
vendor buttons.


I’ll leave the report summary and recommendations for my final post in this series,
which I hope to have done by end of this week. In the meantime, feel free to comment
below on what you think it all means.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.