Online news will supplant TV as leading source

According to a World Association of Newspapers poll online news will supplant television network news as the leading news source over the next five years.

The Harris Poll also says but newspapers will remain a vital source on their own, and can become dominant if they successfully integrate online delivery as a part of what they offer the public.

The poll results suggest that newspapers can significantly upgrade their traditional print product by providing greater objectivity, more in depth reporting and analysis, more information that is directly relevant to their readers’ lives, better and more visual design, and more compelling writing.

The online poll was conducted among 8,749 adults in seven countries: The United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Australia. Respondents were asked about their current sources of news and information, and what changes they see five years into the future. They were also asked to assess the credibility of newspapers today, and their role, and that of their online sites, today and in the future.

While television news programs on traditional and cable networks are the primary information providers today in all the regions polled, a sharp increase in the role of online news information is predicted for five years down the road, largely at the expense of television, with smaller inroads into the market for newspapers.

The poll found television news (both network and cable) to be the primary source of information today for between 35 and 39 percent of adults in six of the countries surveyed, dropping to 29 percent in Spain, where it was close to the number who rely on newspapers, 28 percent. In the other six countries, reliance on newspapers (that is major dailies, national newspapers, and local community newspapers) ranged from 23 percent in the United Kingdom to a low of 16 percent in France. It was 21 percent in Italy, 23 percent in both the United States and Australia, and 22 in Germany.

Looking five years down the road, the poll points to significant increases in all geographies for online news and information, and significant parallel losses for television network news, with modest increases for cable news, and newspapers down from moderately to significantly in all countries surveyed. Radio remains relevant, with moderate decreases.

Newspaper credibility gets reasonably high marks, 50 or higher on a scale of 1 to 100, with some significant geographic differences, from a low of 50 in Great Britain to a high of 67 in Germany.

At the same time the poll found that a high number of respondents (over three-quarters of adults in each country) consider newspapers and their associated websites extremely important because of their role as community watchdogs, in clarifying important global issues, and providing relevant information that is interesting to know and useful in daily life.

Asked why people do not read newspapers, over half of poll respondents in six of the seven countries pointed to lack of time (in Spain this dropped to 44 percent). At least two in five adults in all 7 countries said easier access to news online was a reason to not read the newspaper. Other reasons that were given were newspapers need to eliminate bias, improve writing, increase relevance to readers’ daily lives, improve visual content and presentation, and help connect readers to their communities.

The survey found – in questions posed to U.S. respondents only – that the credibility of newspapers can be extended to their websites, but not enough effort goes into promoting the connection between newspapers and their online products.




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