The Internet has now surpassed newspapers and all other media except television as an outlet for national and international news, according to a survey by Pew Center for the People & The Press, an independent opinion research group that studies attitudes towards the press, politics, and public policy issues.

interne-overtakes-print-pewAccording to the survey, 40% say they get most of their news about national and international issues from the Internet, up from just 24% in September 2007. For the first time in one of their surveys, more people say they rely mostly on the Internet for news than cite newspapers (35%). Television continues to be cited most frequently as a main source for national and international news, at 70%.

Young Viewers – Internet and television audiences are now equals

One of the survey’s trends also shows that for young viewers, the Internet now matches television as a main source of national and international news. Nearly six-in-ten Americans younger than 30 (59%) say they get most of their national and international news online; an identical percentage cited for television. In September 2007, twice as many young people said they relied mostly on television for news than mentioned the Internet (68% vs. 34%). This shows an increase of 25% of Internet audience growth for young viewers in the last year alone, with a decrease of 9% in television from the previous year.

young-audience-chart-pewLimitation of study: News delivery systems, not sources

Admittedly, this is report that’s a survey on general news delivery systems, and not about original sources. The study doesn’t ask is what percentages of people are getting their news from an online newspaper versus a print newspaper, or take into account the people who might be reading news on a newspaper’s own website, or through a link.

“What we’re asking here is what kind of platform are you using to get your news?” Says Caroll Doherty, Pew’s Associate Editorial Director. “People who say ‘newspaper’ to a response like this are thinking of the print product. I think those people who go online for newspapers would fall into the Internet category.”

Limitation of study: Nothing on local news interest

Pew’s question posed to survey respondents was, “How do you get most of your news about national and international issues?” It’s surprising that Pew chose to overlook regional and local audiences, which are a big part of what most newspapers cater to. Even the New York Times, one of the most well know newspapers nationally and internationally, is still mostly about local coverage. (Exceptions are USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.)  By only asking the question related to national and international news, Pew’s results miss the opportunity to capture a really broad audience, AND distinguish geographic news interests.


News video has largest Internet audience

As we’ve reported here earlier on a survey by DoubleClick Performics (Now Publicis Performics), news video is shown to have the highest engagement levels with online audiences over any other kind of online video. Other industry surveys covered in a report by the media analyst firm eMarketer show news clips to be the most frequently watched type of online video content among adults of all ages, and showing the largest overall growth rates across all demographics. eMarketer’s Senior Analyst, David Hallerman, says in his report, Online Video Content: The New TV Audience, that  “news clips remain among the most popular form of video content is both a national and local phenomenon.”