Internet Surpasses Newspapers
It’s probably no coincidence so many newspapers shut down or went online only. Let 2008 be marked as the first year more people went online than went to their front porch to get the news.
In a survey conducted by Pew Research Center for the People & Press in early December, 40 percent of respondents said the Internet was a prime source for national and international news. Only 35 percent said the same about newspapers. That’s a steep rise from 2007, when just 24 percent relied on the Internet more than newspapers.
TV news is still the undisputed champ, though, cited most frequently as a main source by 70 percent of respondents.
Among respondents under 30, the results weren’t quite as dismal for newspapers and not quite as bright for the glowing teat (TV). For that demographic, TV and the Internet are dead even as main news sources at 59 percent identified both. That’s a gain of 25 percentage points for the Internet, and a loss of 11 for TV. Newspapers and radio both increased by five percentage points.
One wonders, however, how much overall impact the Presidential election had on media overall. It stands to reason all would gain—with the exception of TV, apparently—and that 2009 might be a more reliable or “average” year.
It may be that it’s worse news for TV than it is for newspapers. Amid dwindling ratings for youth-targeted Viacom, the company put the squeeze on TimeWarner to pony up to make up for lost revenue. That’s a big game of chicken that could end at 12:01 New Years Day, with either TimeWarner paying up to 36% more to carry Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, et alia, to 13 million subscribers, or Viacom bolts and those channels go dark. (Though it seems kind of silly if a network is struggling for ratings that they would cut 13 million more potential viewers. Maybe they’re counting on that cool billion from Google.)
Another interesting tidbit is that 23 percent of respondents said they got most of their news from CNN, compared to 17 percent from Fox News. The other 60 percent was divvied up amongst other cable and broadcast news outlets.