The majority of Americans still prefer to get their news by watching television newscasts — not reading or listening to it, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center.
The report finds that nearly half of Americans surveyed (47%) prefer watching the news, while 34% prefer reading it and 19% prefer listening. Television remains the news source of choice for Americans, a reality that’s largely unchanged from a year earlier.
Pew’s survey examined the platform Americans choose to get their information, whether they turn on the local newscast or radio station, pick up a newspaper or browse the Internet (social media or web). The TV remains the dominant platform for news and information, the survey found.
What’s especially interesting here is that, despite all the investment in online news, people who prefer to watch their news still turn on the TV. Among the half of U.S. adults who prefer to watch their news, the vast majority – 75% – prefer the television as a mode for watching.
Those who prefer to read their news gravitate primarily to digital sources: 63%. News listeners are more varied; about half (52%) tune in to radio, while 21% listen to the TV in the background and 20% go online.
There’s a strong demographic component in how people prefer to get their information.
Younger adults, ages 18 to 49, are more likely than those age 50 and older to get their news online, regardless of the format they prefer (reading, watching or listening). Older Americans are increasingly gravitating to the web, but not as quickly as younger adults.
Pew notes that this gradual digital shift is consistent with its earlier research, reflecting a increasing reliance on the web for news and a decline in television news viewing. There’s just a 6% gap between those who say they often get news online and those who do so via the television.
The research organization’s findings are based on a survey conducted July 30-August 12 among 3,425 U.S. adults who are members of the center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel. The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 4,581 respondents is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.