Until now, local TV news viewership has been declining slowly. But a new Pew research study shows that from 2016 to 2017, the decline picked up speed.
Pew’s associate director of journalism research, Katerina Eva Matsa, reported:
“Americans are relying less on television for their news. Just 50% of U.S. adults now get news regularly from television, down from 57% a year prior in early 2016. But that audience drain varies across the three television sectors: local, network and cable. Local TV has experienced the greatest decline but still garners the largest audience of the three, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis.”
As you might expect, TV news generally attracts mostly older audiences. More than half of the people surveyed who are 65 and older said they watch local, network and cable TV news. But drop below that age, even to the 50- to 64-year-old bracket and viewership drops way off.
The study says only a fourth of college-educated Americans watch local TV news regularly compared with nearly half of Americans who have a high school level or less education. Women watch local news more than men, and non-whites told the Pew researchers they watch local TV news more than whites.
These series of charts tell the story:
The study was conducted Aug. 8-21, 2017, and included 4,971 respondents. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, so the change in local news viewing habits is significantly higher than the margin of error.
Matsa told Poynter, “One of the issues
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