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News consumption habits are changing among American adults, but the degree of change varies across demographics, according to new survey data from Pew and Nielsen.
Business Insider Intelligence
Here are a few of the most influential stats:
- Millennials spend far less time consuming news overall than older adults, and the time they do spend is concentrated on digital consumption. Millenials ages 21-37 consume only about 30% of the amount of news as adults age 38 and older, per Nielsen. This amounts to 8,766 minutes of news a year on average compared to 30,103 minutes for older adults. But millennials have largely abandoned traditional TV formats for digital platforms. While adults aged 38+ average 54 minutes a day watching TV news, millennials register just 12 minutes a day. And digital news reaches 88% of millennials while national TV news reaches just 61% of them, compared to digital news reach of 80% and TV news reach of 90% for older adults.
- Facebook is far and away the most-used site for finding news, but a greater proportion of Reddit and Twitter’s respective user bases get news on those platforms. Facebook’s massive US user base is the main driver of this statistic. While a greater number of US adults overall get their news on Facebook, news consumption is a more common behavior among Reddit and Twitter users, per Pew. Forty-three percent of US adults say they get news on Facebook, followed by 21% on YouTube, and 12% on Twitter. Meanwhile, nearly three-quarters (73%) of Reddit’s users say they get news on the site, followed by 71% of Twitter’s users, and 67% of Facebook users.
- Fake news on social media remains a top concern for users, but the convenience appears to outweigh those problems. Two thirds (68%) of US adults say they get news on social media, but 57% of those consumers expect that news to be inaccurate, per Pew. Inaccurate news is the top concern among social media news consumers with the plurality saying it’s their biggest dislike about getting news on social platforms. Still, convenience is paramount — it registered as respondents’ favorite aspect.
- Platform-driven news consumption is a behavior that’s likely to persist as news consumers age. News found on social media is increasingly confusing to consumers overall, per Pew. Still, younger consumers are more likely to view it positively compared to older users. This could be because younger consumers are more attuned to the ways in which information is distributed on chaotic, decentralized platforms. While 36% of overall social media news consumers said that the news they find on social platforms confuses them more than it clarifies their understanding — up from 15% last year — many younger social media news consumers viewed this in a beneficial light. About half (48%) of social media news consumers ages 18-29 said that accessing news on social platforms made them better informed, versus 37% of those ages 30-49, 28% of those 50-64, and 27% of those 65 and older.
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