…But by and large, people, I think, are still using the internet just as a utility.
This is true. It is also true, “nobody goes on the Internet to read.” Sorta.
Reading is a means to and end. The type of reading you’re referring to — “If they are going to sit down and read” reading — is sorta a myth. Why do people sit down with their Kindle? It’s not for reading’s sake. It’s because they’re are looking to get something out of it — an entertaining way to pass the time, knowledge, insight, self-betterment…
In other words, people use everything as a utility — including the (printed) NY Times and their Kindles. And a hell of a lot more people use the Internet.
Yes, it’s work. And, yes, lots of people aren’t interested — that’s always been true. But lots of people are and find it worthwhile. And they all do it on the Internet. But it’s hard to get even those who find value in reading to read any one thing, cuz, damn there’s a lot of stuff to read.