Media Convergence and New Purposes: More Young People Cite Internet than TV when it Comes to News

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NewsEach generation has its own way of consuming content and via which device. Pew Research did a national survey for the People & the Press, conducted Dec. 1-5, 2010, among 1,500 adults, concluding that "the internet is slowly closing in on television as Americans' main source of national and international news. Currently, 41% say they get most of their news about national and international news from the internet, which is little changed over the past two years but up 17 points since 2007."

Generation analysis

18 to 29 year olds

Since 2007, this group is citing the internet as their main source, is nearly doubled from 34% to 65%. Over this period, the number of young people citing television as their main news source has dropped from 68% to 52%.

30 to 49 year olds

Currently, 48% say the internet is their main source -- up 16 points from 2007 -- and 63% cite television -- down eight points. Internet is going to equal or surpass television as news source in the coming few years.

50 to 64 year olds

Internet is growing as a source for this group, the internet has risen to 14% from 5% in 2007, but is still far behind newspapers (47%) and television (79%) as a main source.

Cable news and broadcast news are declining

Reflecting the slow decline in the proportion of people getting most of their national and international news from television, the numbers specifically citing cable news outlets or broadcast networks as their main news source has fallen.

Changing dynamics

Sources are changing for news which means that sources are also being ascribed new purposes. Think of the media center, creating a home entertainment ecosystem, where movies, music and photos are easily shared over mobile devices to the television. Content snacking is more appropriate on the Internet where the readers are in charge, instead of the television which decides the topics, pace and time.

Newspapers undergo the same process, news snacking is done via the Internet, surely being a threat. In the short term, the older generations are still reading them, for the younger ones a new purpose must be discovered (or not) to see where it possibly fits in the consumption of content. The Web is suitable for content snacking, why should newspapers compete with that and not find a new purpose, long editorial pieces, background pieces, analysis, extensive interviews?

By giving it a new purpose and unique content, even a link between digital and paper could be created by referring them from Web to paper for extended content and vice versa, by QR codes, staying on top of the latest news on that specific topic.

Devices like the tv set, tablets, smartphones, undergo such a process, existing purposes, new purposes and shifting purposes among different devices in different paces by the different generations. 



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