Pew: TV Still Preferred News Outlet

Americans prefer to watch the news rather than read all about it or listen to it, and the majority of those who prefer to watch it pick TV as their primary news outlet.

That is according to a new Pew Research Center survey, conducted July 30-Aug. 12 among 3,425 adults. The study found that 47% of those adults preferred to watch the news, while 34% preferred reading it and 19% listening.

Of that 47%, three quarters preferred to watch it on TV, which includes cable, network and local news, while only 20% preferred the Web. Earlier Pew studies have found that local news is the leader among those TV choices, though that was not part of this study.

The study found a large percentage increase in those who prefer to get their news online. That 20% in 2018 who preferred online was up from 12% in 2016.

"Despite many recent online news video initiatives and the fact that nearly all adults get at least some news digitally, people who prefer to watch their news still also prefer television as their main platform for news," said Pew.

Not surprisingly, those under 50 were more likely to say they preferred getting news online, whether watching, reading or listening. But, still, in the key 18-49 demo, TV was the favorite of 61%, while 34% picked online. The comparable figures for 50-plus were 86% TV and only 10% online.

The margin of error for the full sample was 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.