TV is America's Preferred News Mode Overall, but Online is Matching or Outpacing it in Some Segments Print pushed to the side as TV and online battle for market control

NEW YORK, Sept. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans are today faced with a vast and ever-increasing number of options as to where to get their news, but those choices begin with a simpler question:  how to get it.  Would they rather watch their news on TV, read it in print or seek it out online?  The results are in, and while TV is the preferred mode among half (50%) of Americans, online (36%) is in a strong second position nationally and is even equaling or besting TV among some segments.  Print is a distant third, with only one in ten Americans (10%) citing it as their preferred mode.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100517/NY06256LOGO )

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,307 adults surveyed online between August 13 and 20, 2012 by Harris Interactive.

News interest

More than two-thirds of Americans (69%) display a moderate interest in the news, indicating that keeping up with the news is one of many ways they like to spend their leisure time.  The remainder are somewhat split between being self-described "news junkies" (13%) and indicating that they are "not really interested in the news" (18%).  Males (17%) are roughly twice as likely as females (9%) to describe themselves as news junkies, while younger adults are especially likely to express a lack of interest in following the news (31% Echo Boomers, 23% Gen X, 10% Baby Boomers, 6% Matures).

Although TV is the preferred news mode overall, online is an equal or even dominant presence among some segments.  Both news junkies and those "not interested" show nearly even preferences between online (42% news junkies, 43% not interested) and TV (47% and 41%, respectively), whereas moderately interested adults favor TV (53%) over online (34%).  Furthermore, online is the dominant mode among Echo Boomers (55% online, 34% TV), while TV remains the dominant mode for Gen Xers and older (52%-60% TV, 17%-38% online); TV's margin over online grows consistently with age.

The level of attention paid when reading news (either online or in print) varies widely, though less than half of adults (43%) either read every word of an article (19%) or skim full articles (25%). 

  • Those who prefer getting their news online are more likely than other preference groups to limit their reading to headlines, plus one to two stories in full (41%); those favoring TV (34%) are in turn more likely than print "consumers" (14%) to report the same. 
  • Additionally, older respondents (particularly Matures) display more attention when reading news; they are less likely to read headlines only (11% Echo Boomers, 12% Gen X, 5% Baby Boomers, 2% Matures) or headlines plus one to two stories (39%, 38%, 32% and 20%, respectively), and they are more likely to skim full articles (22%, 19%, 25% and 38%, respectively).

Attention getters

A catchy headline is the top influencer on Americans' likelihood to read an online or print article in full (54%), though the inclusion of interesting pictures (44%) and interesting data or research (43%) are also strong lures. 

  • News junkies are less likely to be lured into reading an article by the presence of an interesting picture (32% junkies, 46% moderate, 41% not interested), but are more likely to be attracted by an interesting graphical data representation or "infographic" (40%, 29% and 17%, respectively).
  • Those who prefer getting their news online (51%) and in print (53%) are considerably more likely than those preferring TV (37%) to be lured in by interesting data or research.
  • Females (58%) are more likely than males (50%) to be drawn in by a catchy headline, while males (47%) are more likely than females (40%) to be attracted by interesting data or research.
  • Matures are lured more strongly than any other age group by interesting data or research (55%, vs. 38%-44%) and interesting pictures (52%, vs. 42%-45%).

So What?

"Americans are inundated with information," says Harris Poll Insights Vice President Jill Gress, "and that assault of information is impacting, and will continue to impact, where Americans get their news from."

"Furthermore," continues Gress, "with the expectation being that online news will further displace TV over time, incorporating online news consumers' habits and predilections into reporting will be increasingly important:  this means concise reporting, given online news consumers' stronger tendency to read articles more selectively; and increased use of supporting data, as online news consumers are much more interested in this than those preferring TV."

TABLE 1
NEWS INTEREST – GENERATION & GENDER
"Which of these statements best describes you?"

Base: All adults


Total

Generation

Gender

Echo

Boomers

(18-35)

Gen X

(36-47)

Baby Boomers

(48-66)

Matures

(67+)

Males

Females

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

I am a news junkie; it's a favorite leisure time activity

13

12

16

12

12

17

9

I like to keep up with the news, but it's just one of many ways that I spend my leisure time

69

58

61

78

82

69

69

I am not really interested in the news; there are other ways that I prefer to spend my leisure time

18

31

23

10

6

15

22

Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding

TABLE 2
PREFERRED NEWS MODE – BY GENERATION & NEWS INTEREST
"While you may get your news in multiple ways, which one is your preferred way to get the news?"

Base: All adults


Total

Generation

News Interest

Echo

Boomers

(18-35)

Gen X

(36-47)

Baby Boomers

(48-66)

Matures

(67+)

News "Junkies"

Moderate Interest

Not Interested

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

TV

50

34

52

59

60

47

53

41

Online [NET]

36

55

38

27

17

42

34

43

Online – on computer

29

43

29

22

16

35

27

32

Online – mobile device

4

7

5

2

*

4

3

7

Online – tablet

3

4

4

3

1

3

3

4

Print

10

5

7

13

22

9

12

6

Some other way

3

7

3

1

1

1

2

9

Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding
* signifies less than 1%

TABLE 3
LEVEL OF ATTENTION WHEN READING NEWS – BY GENERATION & PREFERRED MODE
"Which of the following best describes how you typically read the news – either online or in print?"

Base: All adults


Total

Generation

Preferred Mode

Echo

Boomers

(18-35)

Gen X

(36-47)

Baby Boomers

(48-66)

Matures

(67+)

Online

TV

Print

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

I normally read just the headlines

8

11

12

5

2

7

8

3

I normally just read the headlines, but maybe one or two stories in full

34

39

38

32

20

41

34

14

I normally will read the headlines and a few sentences into most stories

15

11

10

19

21

14

15

20

I skim the full article

25

22

19

25

38

23

24

30

I read every word in the article

19

17

21

19

19

15

18

32

Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding

TABLE 4a
TOP ENTICEMENTS FOR READING AN ARTICLE – BY GENERATION AND GENDER
"Which of the following makes you more likely to read an online or print article?"

Base: All adults


Total

Generation

Gender

Echo

Boomers

(18-35)

Gen X

(36-47)

Baby Boomers

(48-66)

Matures

(67+)

Males

Females

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

A catchy headline

54

55

54

54

52

50

58

An interesting picture with the article

44

42

45

41

52

43

44

Interesting data or research which supports the article

43

38

44

44

55

47

40

An interesting infographic (e.g. visual representation of information, data or knowledge)

28

30

28

27

27

30

26

Who the author is

13

14

12

13

16

13

14

Something else

13

11

17

12

13

13

13

None of these

9

9

11

9

9

10

9

Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding

TABLE 4b
TOP ENTICEMENTS FOR READING AN ARTICLE – BY NEWS INTEREST & PREFERRED MODE
"Which of the following makes you more likely to read an online or print article?"

Base: All adults


Total

News Interest

Preferred Mode

News "Junkies"

Moderate Interest

Not Interested

Online

TV

Print

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

A catchy headline

54

55

57

43

57

54

53

An interesting picture with the article

44

32

46

41

41

46

48

Interesting data or research which supports the article

43

47

47

26

51

37

53

An interesting infographic (e.g. visual representation of information, data or knowledge)

28

40

29

17

31

26

30

Who the author is

13

21

13

9

16

10

23

Something else

13

17

13

9

15

10

21

None of these

9

6

7

20

5

11

7

Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between August 13 and 20, 2012 among 2,307 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

The Harris Poll® #55, September 20, 2012
By: Lawrence Shannon-Missal, Research Manager, The Harris Poll

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

Press Contacts:
Corporate Communications
Harris Interactive
212-539-9600
press@harrisinteractive.com 

SOURCE Harris Interactive



RELATED LINKS
http://www.harrisinteractive.com
http://www.youtube.com/user/TheHarrisInteractive
http://twitter.com/harrisint
http://www.facebook.com/HarrisPoll
http://www.facebook.com/harrisinteractive?ref=share
http://twitter.com/harrispoll

Best of Content We Love 2014 


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

 

PR Newswire Membership

Fill out a PR Newswire membership form or contact us at (888) 776-0942.

Learn about PR Newswire services

Request more information about PR Newswire products and services or call us at (888) 776-0942.