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Americans Still Prefer Watching to Reading the News – and Mostly Still Through Television

Americans Still Prefer Watching to Reading the News – and Mostly Still Through Television

Three-quarters of Americans who prefer watching the news opt for TV, but since 2016, slightly more watchers name the internet as their platform of choice

BY AMY MITCHELL

Watching remains the preferred mode of news consumption in the U.S.

Americans continue to prefer watching the news rather than reading or listening to it, and their viewing loyalties have yet to migrate fully to the web. Instead, the majority of U.S. adults who prefer to watch the news opt for television as their primary news platform, according to a new Pew Research Center survey conducted July 30-Aug. 12, 2018, among 3,425 U.S. adults who are members of the Center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel.

Overall, 47% of Americans prefer watching the news rather than reading or listening to it. That is unchanged from 46% in 2016 and outpaces the 34% who prefer to read the news and 19% who prefer to listen to it – both of which also remain on par with 2016 figures.

In addition to exploring the preferred format for news consumption, the study also measured which platform people preferred most for their news: print, television (through local, network or cable channels), the internet (through websites, apps or social media) or radio. Television continues to rank first as the preferred platform. Just over four-in-ten U.S. adults (44%) prefer TV, compared with about a third (34%) who prefer the web, 14% who prefer radio and 7% who prefer print. The only meaningful shifts since 2016 are a small increase in online and decrease in print news consumption.

Television remains most preferred platform for news


The responses become even more revealing when looking at the two questions together: the preferred format for getting news (reading, watching or listening) and the preferred platform as the way to access it (print, television, online or radio).

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.

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