Most Americans prefer watching the news rather than reading it, survey finds

3 min read

For most Americans, watching the news through television is a more viable option rather than reading it. But since 2016, the internet has become a more dominant choice for news consumption, a recent survey found.

According to the survey, released by Pew Research Center, 3,425 adults were recruited for their input on their preferred mode of news consumption in the U.S. The participants were chosen as part of the American Trends Panel.

“Americans continue to prefer watching the news rather than reading or listening to it, and their viewing loyalties have yet to migrate fully to the web,” the survey highlights. “Instead, the majority of U.S. adults who prefer to watch the news opt for television as their primary news platform.”

Initiated between July 30th and August 12, 2018, the survey found that the majority, roughly 47% of Americans, preferred consuming news through television rather than reading it. Additionally, an estimated 34% desired reading as their mode of news consumption.

“In addition to exploring the preferred format for news consumption, the study also measured which platform people preferred most for their news: print, television (through local, network or cable channels), the internet (through websites, apps or social media) or radio,” the findings also indicated.

“Television continues to rank first as the preferred platform. Just over four-in-ten U.S. adults (44%) prefer TV, compared with about a third (34%) who prefer the web, 14% who prefer radio and 7% who prefer print. The only meaningful shifts since 2016 are a small increase in online and decrease in print news consumption.”

Among readers, most notably, young adults less than age 50, the survey determined that the web was their favored platform for news consumption.

Digital preferences driven by the young

“The portion of readers and listeners who prefer the web has not changed significantly since 2016, when a majority of those who prefer to read their news (59%) already named the web as their preferred platform,” the survey showed.

“Adults younger than 50 are more likely than those ages 50 and older to prefer the internet as the platform for getting news, regardless of which format (reading, watching or listening) they enjoy most.”

Moreover, for the participants in the older age range, a substantial amount who read their news found print more alluring over television or the web.

“Among readers especially, the older age group has increased its preference for the web since 2016, though they still trail 18- to 49-year-olds. In 2016, 49% of those ages 50 and older who prefer to read their news also preferred a print paper, while 32% preferred the web.”

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