Broad, but not deep
The survey of 3,204 adults conducted from April 27 to May 22 finds that while the online audience is fairly broad, it is not particularly deep. Those who logged on for news spent an average of 32 minutes online daily. That is significantly less than other media sources. According to the survey, adults daily spent 53 minutes watching TV news, 43 minutes listening to it on the the radio and 40 minutes with a newspaper.
And while nearly half all Americans (48%) spend at least 30 minutes a day getting their news from TV, only 9% spend that long getting news online.
The report concludes that the web is a supplement, rather than an alternative to a primary news source.
Newspaper sites not as popular
While that might seem like glad tidings for traditional media, Pew also served up some not-so-appetizing data on newspapers' own online sites: Of the 23% who got news from the web, a minority visited newspaper websites. Most people instead reported they prefer the likes of MSNBC, Yahoo and CNN, which offer bite-size updates of major headlines. Speed and convenience were cited as the reason, rather than great detail or depth of coverage. That particular finding will give political advertising strategists food for thought, given the effectiveness of the web for propagating a particular sound bite or stance.
In addition, the report found that while 4% of adults aged 18 to 65 and older say they regularly read news-related blogs, that figure rises to 9% among 18-to-24-year-olds.
The report, released July 30, is available online at people-press.org.