Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
The Washington Post launches a year in news à la Spotify Wrapped
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Oct. 6, 2016, 12:27 p.m.
Audience & Social
LINK: www.pewresearch.org  ➚   |   Posted by: Ricardo Bilton   |   October 6, 2016

Digital publishers may be pouring time and energy into cranking up their video operations, but for a lot of their potential viewers, text is still the way to go.

New data from Pew Research finds that, when it comes to the news, younger adults still prefer words over moving images. While 46 percent of Americans overall say they prefer to watch the news over reading it, that number is far lower for Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 — only 38 percent of that group named video as their preferred news consumption format. In contrast, 42 percent said that they actually prefer text (which they prefer to read online, of course). Just 19 percent of young adults named listening as their preference. (“Smelling the news” was not an option.)

ft_16_09_30_newsbyage

Those preferences put young people at odds with those between 50 and 64 and those over 65, of which 52 percent and 58 percent, respectively, said they prefer to watch the news. Less than thirty percent of people in both those age groups said the same for text.

These generational gaps in news consumption preferences join similar findings from back in July, when Pew reported that 54 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds said that they prefer to get their news online — significantly higher than, say, the 38 percent of those ages 30 to 49, or the 15 percent of those ages 50 to 64 who said the same.

The lack of unhindered enthusiasm among young people for watching news online is probably sobering for digital publishers, many of which are eyeing video as a way to escape their reliance on display advertising, which seems in irrevocable decline.

But the challenges facing digital news video have been clear for some time. Oxford’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism found in July that people don’t exactly flock to video when big news stories hit: “So far, the growth around online video news seems to be largely driven by technology, platforms, and publishers rather than by strong consumer demand,” Antonis Kalogeropoulos, one of the report’s authors, said in a statement at the time.

Show tags
 
Join the 60,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
The Washington Post launches a year in news à la Spotify Wrapped
“We initially built a ‘look-back’ experience but pivoted when we learned that our readers are more interested in insights that center on their reading ‘personality’ and content discovery rather than revisiting news from the past.”
How risky is it for journalists to cover protests?
Plus: Exploring why women leave the news industry, the effects of opinion labels, and susceptibility to disinformation.
Coming to a Hawaii library near you: Honolulu Civil Beat is hosting pop-up newsrooms around the state
“We learned that people have an interest if they can get to us.”