Pew Study: Online Audience for News Grows

The biennial news consumption survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press came out yesterday. In short, bad news for newspapers, but good news for online news, with modest growth in the audience there:

This year for the first time in roughly 15 years of asking the question, fewer than half of all Americans report reading a daily newspaper on a regular basis. Only 46% say they read the paper regularly – this number is down from 52% in 2006 and was as high as 71% in 1992. In a similar vein, fewer now report having read a newspaper ‘yesterday,’ a more reliable measure of newspaper readership. Only 34% say they read a newspaper yesterday, down from 40% in 2006.

The falloff in readership over the past two years has occurred across the board – men and women, whites and blacks, college graduates and those who never attended college are all reading the newspaper at lower rates than in 2006. Age continues to be strongly correlated with newspaper readership…. Currently, only 15% of those younger than 25 report having read a newspaper yesterday. Among those ages 25 to 34, 24% read a newspaper yesterday. This compares with roughly half (46%) of those 50 and older.

A word about that last graf: That part about folks under 25 barely reading newspapers? That completely tracks with what we’ve seen with our summer interns at Arkansas Business Publishing Group. Think about that for a second. ABPG is a publishing company. And these kids aren’t reading newspapers. What are they reading? Magazines and the Internet.

On online readership:

The audience for online newspapers has grown modestly since 2006. In the current survey, 13% say they read the web version of a newspaper yesterday, or both the print and online versions, up from 9% two years ago. Yet that increase has not made up for the steep loss in print readership (from 34% to 25%).

Still, online newspapers are gaining readers, especially among people ages 25 to 34. Among people in this age group who read a newspaper yesterday, fully 16% report having read the paper online; slightly fewer (12%) say they read the paper version.

The full version of the study is available here, and you can read Editor & Publisher’s summary here. Meanwhile, after the jump, we’ll leave you with another little nugget from the survey, on TV news programs, as noted by E&P.

The results of the new Pew Survey on News Consumption (taken every two years and released this afternoon) suggest that viewers of the “fake news” programs “The Daily Show”and “The Colbert Report” are more knowledgeable about current events (as judged by three test questions) than watchers of “real” cable news shows hosted by Lou Dobbs, Bill O’Reilly and Larry King, among others — as well as average consumers of NBC, ABC, Fox News, CNN, C-SPAN and daily newspapers.

The national average for answering the three questions was only 18%. But 34% of The Colbert Report fans got them right, with 30% of The Daily Show viewers doing so – even though the two Comedy Central shows draw younger audiences which generally scored less well on the “test” than older viewers/readers.

The Pew Report observed: “The Colbert Report and The Daily Show are notable for having relatively well-informed audiences that are younger than the national average.”


One Response

  1. […] recent survey by the Pew Research Center tracked where people are finding their news. On his blog, Lance Turner sums up the study saying, “In short, bad news for newspapers, but good […]

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