Paperboy, Youre Fired

    March 28, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

A young man looks out his window to see his elderly neighbor cursing the paperboy’s dismal aim – with one fist in the air and the other fishing through the thorny bushes. The young man chuckles and opens up a Web browser for a significant head start on the day’s news. Old Man Fuss-n-Feathers continues to curse and threaten.

The old codger needs his paper on time, on the porch, in order. The future old codgers of the world however, as indicated by a report from Pew//Internet and American Life, will only be cursing if their broadband goes down.

“For younger home high-speed internet users,” reads the report, “certain news gathering habits, namely reading a local daily newspaper and to a lesser extent watching local and national TV news, are not being formed.”

Almost half (46%) of broadband users under the age of 36 get their news online from a wide range of news sources on an average day, heavily outpacing dial-up users in the same age group. Only 21 percent of dial-up users get their news online.

While a similar percentage (43%)of broadband users over 50 also seek news online, their sources are typically less varied. Likewise, younger broadband users seek fewer offline sources like newspapers.

Pew interprets that to mean that with the growth of broadband, online news consumption will also grow. In the past four years, broadband has expanded its reach by 54 million people, now used by 37% of adult Americans.

Coincidentally, online news consumption has also grown (because of other factors as well), as 50 million Americans turn to the Internet for news on a typical day.

The vast majority of these that consume online news are considered “high-powered broadband users” – users whose daily online pursuits comprise of four or more distinct activities. High-powered users, though only making up 40% of the home broadband population, comprise 44% of all Internet news seekers.

Where are they going for news exactly? The report shows that 46% of all Internet users and 52% of broadband users say they go to national TV network websites like CNN or MSNBC. Forty-four percent of broadband users and 39% overall say they visit portal sites like Yahoo or Google.

Local newspaper sites outdraw national newspaper sites overall. As 32% of Internet users visit local daily paper sites, only 20% say they visit national daily paper sites.

But don’t ask any of them to pay for their news. While 54% demonstrated a willingness to register for online news, only 6% of Internet users said they had paid for news content like video clips, articles, or broadcasts.

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