US TV News Consumption in Decline Amongst Millennials

written by: Richard Kastelein

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The Pew Center for People and the Press in the USA recently conducted a study of trends in news consumption between 1991 and 2012 that appears to show warning signs that it may no longer be immune to audience migration to digital.

The transformation of the American news landscape, particularly print newspapers, has already been seriously disrupted by the Internet - and there are now signs that television news – which so far has held onto its audience through the rise of the internet – is also vulnerable, and may be losing its hold on Millennials - or Generation Y.

“Online and digital news consumption, meanwhile, continues to increase, with many more people now getting news on cell phones, tablets or other mobile platforms. And perhaps the most dramatic change in the news environment has been the rise of social networking sites. The percentage of Americans saying they saw news or news headlines on a social networking site yesterday has doubled – from nine per cent to 19 per cent – since 2010. Among adults younger than age 30, as many saw news on a social networking site the previous day (33 per cent) as saw any television news (34 per cent), with just 13 per cent having read a newspaper either in print or digital form." noted Pew in the Report.

"While print sources have suffered readership losses in recent years, television news viewership has remained more stable. Currently, 55 per cent say they watched the news or a news program on television yesterday, little changed from recent years. But there are signs this may also change. Only about a third (34 per cent) of those younger than 30 say they watched TV news yesterday; in 2006, nearly half of young people (49 per cent) said they watched TV news the prior day. Among older age groups, the percentages saying they watched TV yesterday has not changed significantly over this period."

Pew notes that the future looks bleak because of the sizeable decline in viewers among adults younger than twenty. A full 34 pe rcent of those younger than thirty who watched TV news the prior day is fully 15 points lower than the 49 per cent who did so in 2006. Among older adults, the percentage grew slightly for TV, from 63 percent to 65 per cent among those 50 to 64 years old and from 69 percent to 73 per cent among those 65 and older.

Cable TV news viewers 18 to 29 years old dropped six percentage points to 23 per cent - also indicative of an uncertain future.

From Broadcast Engineering:

In contrast to print and television, online news consumption is growing. The research found 17 percent of Americans say they got news yesterday on a mobile device. A total of 78 percent of these people got the news on their cell phones, and about a third of smartphone owners said they got news yesterday on a mobile device.

Social media, too, has grown, with 19 percent saying they saw news or news headlines on social networking sites yesterday, up 9 percent from 2010.


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