Traditional Media Users Skew Older

October 28, 2010

Consumers of traditional media sources such as print and TV tend to be older than online media consumers, according to results of a new 24/7 Wall St./Harris Poll conducted by Harris Interactive.

55-plus See Most Need for Traditional Media
Overall, 81% of survey respondents said although printed news will continue to decline, there will always be a need for news in print. However, this figures is highest (87%) among respondents older than 55 and lowest (76%) among respondents 18-34 and 35-44.
More telling is the fact that while 67% of overall respondents still prefer to get their news from traditional sources, this figure jumps to 81% for 55-plus and drops to only 57% for 18-34.

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Conversely, 50% of 18-to-34-year-olds tend to get almost all of their news online, compared to only 33% of those 55 and older.

Older Consumers Visit Traditional News Sources More Often
For all forms of traditional news media, older consumers are more likely to visit either all the time or occasionally than younger consumers, with the widest discrepancy existing between the oldest and youngest consumers.

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For example, while 76% of overall respondents at least occasionally consume local TV news, this figure is 88% of 55-plus but only 63% of 18-34. Similar trends can be observed for local newspapers and network TV news. The discrepancy narrows a bit for cable TV news (60% overall, 67% of 55-plus, 51% of 18-34).

There is a milder reverse discrepancy when looking at usage of new news media sources. The widest difference exists in consumption of websites for national newspapers (36% overall, 40% of 18-34, 30% of 55-plus).

Older Consumers Increase Time with TV News
Consumers age 55 and older are more likely to have increased the time they spend watching cable TV news and network TV news in the past year than consumers 18-34 (rates of 22% and 17% compared to rates of 13% and 12%, respectively).

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However, in addition to the expected higher rates of increasing consumption of new media such as visiting online news and information sites among younger consumers (29% of 18-34 compared to 22% of 55-plus), younger consumers are also more likely to have increased consumption of many traditional media, such as radio (24% of 18-34 compared to 13% of 55-plus).

Internet Dominates Young Adult Media Time
American young adults spend more time online than consuming other forms of media, according to a new study from Edison Research. “Radio’s Future II: The 2010 American Youth Study” indicates that during an average day, Americans age 12-24 spend two hours and 52 minutes on the internet, making the web the media format American young adults spend the most time consuming. Television closely follows with a daily average of two hours and 47 minutes.

About the Data: This 24/7 Wall St./Harris Poll was conducted online within the US between October 8 and 12, 2010 among 2,095 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Where appropriate, this data were also weighted to reflect the composition of the adult online population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

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