The demise of TV news has been greatly exaggerated, a new poll finds. Most Americans still consider the television their primary source of information on current events, a new Gallup poll out today says, far ahead of both the Internet and print media.
The poll, which asked 2,048 adults about their primary news source, found that 55% turned to television, 21% to the Internet, 9% to print and 6% to radio. And 2% of Americans still living in the 18th Century get their news by word of mouth – maybe from a town crier, or a highly knowledgeable neighbor. That’s in line with earlier reports that indicate that TV still claims dominance of news-loving Americans’ eyeballs.
The report concludes that “If the current media preferences are any indicator of the future, the data offer good news for TV, but bad news for print media.” While similar polling by Pew has found the Internet taking a bite out of TV’s news share, the Gallup poll finds that even in the digitally-savvy 18-to-29 demographic, about half of respondents still turn to television for news. And, in a finding that isn’t all that surprising, Gallup concludes that “heavy reliance on print is exclusive to seniors.”
But there will be little in this report for TV execs to celebrate, even if their medium still outperforms competitors. That’s because the media landscape in 2013 is much more fractured than back when three networks ruled the land. No loyalty exists today: 26% of those who prefer television listed a “non-specific” preference for TV news, leaving Fox (8%) and CNN (7%) as the top brands, fighting over what are viewership scraps. But if those numbers may seem low, consider the shares for the New York Times (1%) and NPR (1%), both of which attract fewer Americans interested in the news than Facebook, Twitter and other social media (2%).
In another curious but not-entirely-surprising statistic, the Gallup poll found that Democrats prefer print, while Republicans flock to television – and, specifically, to Fox News.
The poll concludes that the future of newspapers is in “serious doubt.” This, unfortunately, won’t be news to anyone.