Pew: TV News Consumption Down

Americans are using TV for their news, according to a new Pew survey, but local TV news continues to lead among TV news sources. 

The Web survey found that just half (50%) of adults said they get new regularly from TV, down from 57% just a year ago. "Local TV has a wider reach overall than network or cable," Pew found.

And while there are partisan differences in news consumption for network and cable, the survey did not find that to be the case for local TV. "There were no differences by party in local TV news use (36% of Democrats/Democratic leaners said they often get news there, while 38% of Republicans/Republican leaners said this)," the survey found.

Local TV news may continue to dominate, but its numbers are declining as well.

The survey found that 37% said they rely on local TV for their news, down from 46% in 2016. Reliance on network TV news fell to 26% from 30% a year ago. Cable news was down from 31% to 28%.

Local TV continues to draw heaviest from the older demos, with 57% of those 65-plus relying on it for their news, 47% of those 50-64, only 28% of those 30-49 and 18% of the 18-29's.

The survey was conducted Aug. 8-21 among 4,971 respondents. The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 4,971 respondents is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.