TV leads news, but Internet overtakes papers

Television is still the biggest source of news, although the Internet is catching up fast, a survey of American consumers has found. The report, from the Pew Research Center in Washington, says that 70% of those surveyed listed television as a main source of international and national news for them. However, for the first time since the organisation has been doing the survey, more people (40%) listed the Internet than newspapers (35%).

Pew Research Center

Source: Pew Research Center

However, the statistics – based on speaking to nearly 1500 adults – seem to suggest that the Internet has grown the audience for news overall, rather than doing so entirely at the expense of other media. Those listing newspapers as a main source actually rose 1% from the previous year, while TV’s decline was far less than the Internet’s rise.

But the move to the Internet as a news source was greatest among the young, with 59% of 18 to 29-year-olds saying they saw the Internet as a main source of news, while television received exactly the same number. Among the young, newspapers were on 28%, up 5% on last year. Radio meanwhile, was mentioned by only 18% of the young.

However, while the numbers have provided Australia’s new media champions with ammunition in the debate over the death of traditional media, the numbers are likely to differ dramatically for Australia. As well as different patterns of broadband pentration, Australia’s TV networks are competing for a (so far) far less fragmented audience. And Australia’s radio landscape is unique, with former prime minister John Howard saying talk radio enjoys a more dominant role than virtually any other English language country.

Update: There’s an interesting piece at Inside Story on how Australian’s consume their news. There’s also a good debate between, among others, social media strategist Laurel Papworth, Naked’s Adam Ferrier and blogger 200ok on this issue here.


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