The Gap Between TV News and Online News Shrunk a Ton in Just a Year

September 11, 2017

10:50 am

Americans’ reliance on online news is catching up to their long-time favorite news source, TV. According to a new August 2017 study fresh out of the Pew Research Center, the internet is a scant seven percent of the U.S. population behind TV.

Look, the tech community loves pointing out that TV is losing ground to the internet, but at the end of the day, there are still billions and billion in TV, and the internet has yet to match it. But even though the overall trends have been solidly in the internet’s favor for years, this new study is still an impressive data point proving that TV’s days are numbered.

TV News Is Losing to Internet News

The Pew Center broke down the news in a press release accompanying the report, which was just officially released on their site.

“As of August, 43 percent of Americans report often getting news online, just 7 percentage points lower than the 50 percent who often get news on television, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in August. This gap between the two news platforms was 19 points in early 2016, more than twice as large,” Pew’s release states.

Sure, TV is still a larger source of news, but the level at which internet news is catching up to it is stunning. As huge as TV’s power is, the internet is gaining steam. This data point in particular helps shed light on the biggest tech giant’s interest in video: Apple’s $4 billion bid for James Bond distribution rights and Facebook’s potentially $1 billion investment in video like its Watch tool. Internet giants are trying to become TV, and news is no exception.

Even Older Demographics Are Into Internet News

The study notes that demographic trends don’t fall into age-based stereotypes.

“The rise in online news consumption plays out across demographic groups, especially when looked at by age. The two oldest age groups saw considerable increases in online news use – 10 percentage points for those 65 and older (30 percent vs. 20 percent in early 2016) and 6 points among those ages 50 to 64 (35 percent vs. 29 percent),” the release notes.

Even Snapchat’s a Growing News Source

Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat all boasted an increase in the share of audience on the platforms that use the platform to get news. They reported 74 percent of Twitter goers use it for news in 2017, up from half of them back in 2013 and up a solid 15 percent from 2016. Snapchat’s user base saw news lovers rise 12 percentage points, going from 17 percent in the early month of 2016 to 29 percent in August 2017.

Read more about social media trends at TechCo

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Adam is a writer with an interest in a variety of mediums, from podcasts to comic books to video essays to novels to blogging — too many, basically. He's based out of Seattle, and remains a staunch defender of his state's slogan: "sayWA." In his spare time, he recommends articles about science fiction on Twitter, @AdamRRowe

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