Troubles for Traditional Media - Both Print and Television

New 24/7 Wall St./Harris Poll on American media finds over half of adults believe traditional media as we know it will no longer exist in 10 years

Oct 28, 2010, 06:35 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Traditional media is in trouble. Newspapers are struggling with circulation and magazines like Newsweek are being sold for $1. And, while two-thirds of Americans (67%) still agree that they prefer to get their news in more traditional ways such as network television and/or reading newspapers or magazines in print, over half of Americans (55%) say traditional media as we currently know it will no longer exist in ten years. Additionally, half of U.S. adults (50%) say they tend to get almost all their news online.

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These are some of the findings of a new 24/7 Wall St./Harris Poll survey of 2,095 U.S. adults surveyed online between October 8 and 12, 2010 by Harris Interactive.

Focusing on specific media sources, when Americans are looking for news, almost half (46%) say they go to local television news all the time while about one-third say they go to local newspapers (35%) and network television news (31%). Two in five adults, however, say they never go to national newspapers like the New York Times or weekly news magazines (42% each) when they are looking for news.

Additionally, in looking at the amount of time people are spending with print media, one-quarter of adults say over the past year, the time they have spent reading newspapers in print and reading magazines in print has declined (25% and 23% respectively). Conversely, three in ten adults (28%) say the time they have spent visiting online news and information sites has increased over the past year.

Age matters for media consumption

One reason traditional media should be worried is that media consumption and attitudes towards media are very different by age. Only one-third (33%) of those 55 and older say they tend to get almost all their news online compared to almost two-thirds (65%) of those 18-34 years old. And, while four in five of those 55 and older (81%) prefer to get their news in more traditional ways, just over half of 18-34 year olds (57%) feel the same way.

Where people go for news also changes by age. Adults 55 and older are much more likely than 18-34 year olds to go to local television news all the time or occasionally (88% vs. 63%) and to local newspapers (81% vs. 56%) when they are looking for news. However over half of 18-34 year olds go to websites that aggregate news (52%) compared to two in five adults 55 and older (39%).

Network TV versus Cable TV versus watching online

Besides traditional print media, network television also has to face many battles – both against people watching more television online and watching more cable television shows.  Currently, two-thirds of Americans (67%) say they watch television shows primarily on television, while 5% watch them primarily or mostly on their computer. If this is examined by age, again, there is a large difference with over four in five adults 55 and older watching primarily on television (84%) compared to less than half of those 18-34 (48%).

When it comes to cable versus network television, there is an even split. Three in ten Americans (30%) say they watch shows primarily or mostly on network TV while three in ten say they watch shows primarily or mostly on cable (29%); one-third (36%) watch cable and network shows equally.  While four in five U.S. adults (82%) believe that network television shows will always be a large part of Americans' viewing habits, two-thirds (65%) believe people will watch more television on cable than on the networks in the near future. One reason may be quality. Over half of Americans (51%) say cable television shows are much higher quality than network television shows.

So What?

While they might not have abandoned print media or network television completely, Americans are welcoming and embracing other media in leaps and bounds. And, as one might expect, younger Americans are setting the pace as they are getting their news online and not through local newspapers. In fact, for local newspapers, readership is clearly being driven by those who are 45 and older. Traditional media may need to reinvent themselves to give younger Americans a reason to buy local papers or turn on their local news. Network television may not be in as much trouble as print, but they also have to watch their backs as cable television is clearly winning eyes and the counter-programming they did that was once mocked by the networks is now being copied.

TABLE 1

OPINIONS ABOUT NEWS

"Thinking about news and information in general, please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with each of the following statements."

Base: All U.S. adults online


Agree
(NET)

Strongly
agree

Somewhat
agree

Disagree
(NET)

Somewhat
disagree

Strongly
disagree

Not
applicable

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

While printed news will continue to decline, there will always be a need for newspapers in print.

81

37

44

17

14

3

3

I prefer to get my news in more traditional ways such as network television and/or reading newspapers or magazines in print.

67

33

34

29

21

8

3

Traditional media as we currently know it will no longer exist in 10 years.

55

15

40

42

33

10

3

I tend to get almost all my news online.

50

22

28

47

27

20

3

The day of the printed newspaper is gone.

43

10

33

54

36

18

2

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



TABLE 2

OPINIONS ABOUT NEWS

"Thinking about news and information in general, please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with each of the following statements."

Summary of those saying "strongly agree" or "somewhat agree"

Base: All U.S. adults online


Total

Age

Education

18-34

35-44

45-54

55+

H.S.
or
less

Some
college

College
grad +

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

While printed news will continue to decline, there will always be a need for newspapers in print.

81

76

76

85

87

85

76

80

I prefer to get my news in more traditional ways such as network television and/or reading newspapers or magazines in print.

67

57

65

69

81

71

66

64

Traditional media as we currently know it will no longer exist in 10 years.

55

51

55

56

58

56

53

55

I tend to get almost all my news online.

50

65

54

41

33

43

54

53

The day of the printed newspaper is gone.

43

47

44

42

39

39

46

46

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



TABLE 3

TV WATCHING ON TELEVISION VS. COMPUTERS

"Thinking about how you currently watch television shows, which of the following best describes you?"

Base: All U.S. adults online


Total

Age

Education

18-34

35-44

45-54

55+

H.S.
or
less

Some
college

College
grad +

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Watch TV shows (NET)

96

94

97

96

96

96

95

96

  Watch TV shows primarily/mostly on TV (NET)

85

72

90

90

96

90

82

83

    I watch television shows primarily on television.

67

48

69

74

84

75

65

59

    I watch television shows mostly on television, but

   sometimes on my computer.

18

24

20

16

11

15

17

24

  I watch television shows equally on television and my

  computer.

5

10

5

4

*

4

8

5

  Watch TV shows primarily/mostly on computer (NET)

5

12

3

3

1

3

6

8

    I watch television shows mostly on my computer.

2

5

1

1

-

1

3

3

    I watch television shows primarily on my computer.

3

7

2

2

1

1

3

5

I don't watch television shows.

4

6

3

4

4

4

5

4

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



TABLE 4

NEWS SOURCES

"Thinking now of when you are looking for news, how often do you go to each of these news sources?"

Base: All U.S. adults online


Ever (NET)

All the time/
occasionally
(NET)

All
the
time

Occasionally

Rarely

Never

Not
applicable

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Local television news

91

76

46

30

15

8

2

Cable TV news stations like CNN, MSNBC or FOX

82

60

26

34

22

16

3

Local newspapers

89

69

35

34

20

10

2

Network television news

84

66

31

35

19

13

2

Websites that aggregate different news sources

71

49

16

33

22

26

3

Websites for cable TV news stations

66

36

9

27

30

31

3

Websites for national newspapers

64

36

9

27

28

33

3

National newspapers like the NY Times or USA Today

55

25

6

18

31

42

3

Weekly news magazines, such as Newsweek or Time

55

25

6

19

30

42

3

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



TABLE 5

NEWS SOURCES

"Thinking now of when you are looking for news, how often do you go to each of these news sources?"

Summary of those who say "all the time" or "occasionally"

Base: All U.S. adults online


Total

Age

Education

18-34

35-44

45-54

55+

H.S.
or
less

Some
college

College
grad +

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Local television news

76

63

74

85

88

82

73

72

Local newspapers

69

56

69

76

81

71

64

71

Network television news

66

52

61

72

81

72

62

61

Cable TV news stations like CNN, MSNBC or FOX

60

51

62

62

67

60

60

60

Websites that aggregate different news sources

49

52

59

45

39

38

49

61

Websites for cable TV news stations

36

36

40

41

29

31

37

41

Websites for national newspapers

36

40

38

36

30

29

35

45

National newspapers like the NY Times or USA Today

25

28

24

21

24

18

23

36

Weekly news magazines, such as Newsweek or Time

25

27

23

23

25

20

21

34

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



TABLE 6

TIME SPENT WITH VARIOUS NEWS SOURCES

"Over the past year, how, if at all, has the amount of time you spend doing each of the following things changed?"

Base: All U.S. adults online


Increased
(NET)

Increased
significantly

Increased
somewhat

Has not
changed

Decreased
(NET)

Decreased
somewhat

Decreased
significantly

Not
applicable

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Visiting online news and information sites

28

6

23

56

8

5

2

8

Listening to the radio

19

4

15

58

19

13

6

4

Reading newspapers online

17

4

14

53

12

8

4

17

Watching cable TV news

17

4

13

58

15

11

4

10

Watching TV network news

14

3

11

62

18

13

6

5

Reading magazines in print

13

3

10

58

23

16

7

6

Reading newspapers in print

11

3

8

60

25

15

9

5

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



TABLE 7

TIME SPENT WITH VARIOUS NEWS SOURCES

"Over the past year, how, if at all, has the amount of time you spend doing each of the following things changed?"

Summary of those saying "increased significantly" or "increased somewhat" over the past year

Base: All U.S. adults online


Total

Age

Education

18-34

35-44

45-54

55+

H.S.
or
less

Some
college

College
grad +

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Visiting online news and information sites

28

29

34

29

22

25

28

32

Listening to the radio

19

24

21

15

13

18

20

20

Reading newspapers online

17

18

19

17

15

13

18

22

Watching cable TV news

17

13

17

17

22

15

18

19

Watching TV network news

14

12

14

12

17

14

14

14

Reading magazines in print

13

18

11

9

10

11

13

15

Reading newspapers in print

11

13

9

10

11

11

11

10

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



TABLE 8

TELEVISION SHOWS

"Thinking now of the television shows you watch for entertainment, which statement best describes you?"

Base: All U.S. adults


Total

Income

Gender

Less
than
$35K

$35K-
$49.9K

$50K-
$74.9K

$75K+

Male

Female

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Watch shows on network TV (NET)

30

37

25

33

26

26

33

    I primarily watch shows on network television

18

27

16

20

13

16

20

    I mostly watch shows on network television, sometimes on cable.

12

10

8

12

13

11

13

I watch cable and network shows equally.

36

29

36

36

39

36

36

Watch shows on cable TV (NET)

29

24

32

26

32

33

25

    I mostly watch shows on cable, sometimes on network television.

16

12

17

14

19

20

13

    I primarily watch shows on cable.

12

12

15

11

14

13

11

Not sure

5

9

7

6

2

4

6

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



TABLE 9

NETWORK VS. CABLE

"Please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements."

Base: All U.S. adults


Agree
(NET)

Strongly
agree

Somewhat
agree

Disagree
(NET)

Somewhat
disagree

Strongly
disagree

Not
applicable

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Network television shows will always be a large part of Americans' viewing habits.

82

32

50

15

13

2

3

People will watch more television on cable than on the networks in the near future.

65

20

46

29

26

3

6

Cable television shows are much higher quality than network television shows.

51

13

38

42

35

7

7

It doesn't matter if it's cable or the networks, television shows today are just horrible.

48

13

35

48

30

18

5

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



TABLE 10

NETWORK VS. CABLE

"Please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements."

Summary of those saying "strongly agree" or "somewhat agree"

Base: All U.S. adults



Total

Age

18-34

35-44

45-54

55+

%

%

%

%

%

Network television shows will always be a large part of Americans' viewing habits.

81

81

85

80

80

People will watch more television on cable than on the networks in the near future.

67

63

66

69

72

Cable television shows are much higher quality than network television shows.

53

57

57

46

51

It doesn't matter if it's cable or the networks, television shows today are just horrible.

48

42

47

46

56

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



Methodology

This 24/7 Wall St./Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between October 8 and 12, 2010 among 2,095 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. Where appropriate, this data were also weighted to reflect the composition of the adult online 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® #130, October 28, 2010

By Regina Corso, SVP, Harris Poll, Public Relations and Youth Research, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom 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 expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, 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.

About 24/7 Wall St.

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