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How do Americans get their news?

The American media landscape has undergone radical changes over the past two decades. Not just in terms of ‘what’ news is presented but also ‘how’ it is presented. Technology has been the biggest disrupter of all, changing the way Americans view and consume their news. Today, information is on-the-go, 24×7, and personalized to our needs and likings.

With so many different news options to choose from, consumers are not only expecting good content, but are increasingly demanding it too. At the same time, news saturation is becoming a new reality with many stepping away from the onslaught of information. Given these trends, how much do Americans care about the news, and how are they getting their share of news? Piplsay (powered by Market Cube) finds out:

About 65% of Americans today like to stay updated with the latest happenings, with those above 35 years of age being the most interested. In fact, news consumption increases steadily with each age group, reaching its peak (over 70%) with those in the 55-74 yrs age bracket. Surprisingly, despite increasing digital dependence, television continues to remain a popular choice for news consumption, especially with the older generation who can’t seem to abandon their TV habits. Within that, local news channels retain a stronghold, as Americans continue to remain more invested in local stories than national news. This can be gauged from the fact that a whopping 23 million people tune into the evening local news as compared to just 3 million primetime viewers on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, the country’s top three cable networks*.

The same, however, can’t be said about newspapers that are seeing a steady decline in ad revenues and readership, as also revealed by the Piplsay survey. Local journalism, in particular, seems to be dying fast as thousands of local newspapers across the country continue to shut down or merge with bigger players. Not forgetting the massive job cuts affecting the others, including the big national dailies. Many like The New York Times and Washington Post are today experimenting with virtual reality journalism and chatbots to stay relevant in the digital era.

That jobs across newspapers nationwide have fallen by 47% in the last decade*, while that of digital newsrooms has grown by 82%, is enough to point to the future of news

Not surprisingly, online news is driven in large part by millennials and teens, most of who consider social media to be their most preferred source. The emergence and growing dominance of Facebook, Twitter, and others in news dissipation and consumer engagement, have forced traditional media, both national and local, to diversify itself on these platforms as well. While the move has benefited both consumers and media outlets, it has also raised serious concerns about the spread of fake news and propaganda, as was evident from the Facebook data scandal during the last presidential election.

Besides, media outlets are also investing heavily in revamping their news apps and websites, both of which come with a good mix of articles, Live TV, and video options. News videos, in particular, have started gaining a lot of traction as people once again begin to prefer ‘watching’ news over ‘reading’ it. Increasingly, popular web browsers like Google Chrome and Internet Explorer are also integrating news in their offerings, recommending ‘Articles for you’ every time you open a new tab. Google, in particular, seems to be hitting the right mark, with its article views growing by a whopping 2100 percent in 2017 alone.

Furthermore, America’s appetite for long-format news seems to be shrinking as about 60% of online Americans today prefer getting news in brief. This points towards the fact that while the demand for news may not change much, the tools to access it as well as the messaging format certainly will. We are already seeing a move towards bite-sized content, and with VR becoming the next big thing, the news may be all about ‘experiencing’ it than just ‘knowing’ about it.

Based on 60,600 online responses; *Source: pewresearch

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