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29% US consumers get news from social media

Consumer research from market research and consulting company Parks Associates reveals 29 per cent of US broadband households get most of their news from social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. According to 360 View: Digital Media & Connected Consumers, despite the emergence of online sources for news, the majority of broadband consumers feel that television is more authentic than online video.

“Among all US broadband households, 52 per cent feel television is more authentic than online video, and the prevalence of this attitude increases with age,” said Glenn Hower, Senior Analyst, Parks Associates. “By contrast, nearly 30 per cent of consumers ages 18-24 believe online video is more authentic than television, and this age group watches content from video sharing sites an average of 13 days per month, compared to only seven days per month for consumers in the 35-44 age group.”

Parks Associate’s report notes that online media services are still finding their footing, but a significant percentage of young consumers show a built-in affinity for online video, which will create problems for more traditional media outlets.

“The fact that nearly one-third of consumers ages 18-24 share deeper connections with online video personalities than with TV personalities is cause for concern for established media companies,” Hower said. “The next generation is embracing online media, and a media status quo will all but guarantee eyeballs shift away from the television.”

With such a high percentage of consumers relying on online video for their news, namely through social media platforms, media companies must also overcome the growing trend of fake news circulating the web. The trend became a hot topic following November’s presidential election, including debates over the effect it had on the outcome of the election. Social media giant Facebook, which has a user base of nearly 1.8 billion people, recently announced its plans to address the issue by giving users the ability to report fake stories, which could also disrupt spammers’ financial incentives.

“Younger consumers, many of whom are passionate about social issues, can find and spread information like wildfire through social media. This is a real problem when inaccurate or unverified reports slip through social media algorithms,” Hower said. “It has really raised an economic crisis in the journalism space. Trained journalists are necessary for reporting accurate news stories, but consumers increasingly are resistant to paying for news content.”

The report analyses trends in music and video consumption by platform, source, and content expenditure. It segments consumers based on their consumption habits and identifies how these habits have been changing over the last four years and how the relative size of each segment is changing. The research also explores OTT service subscriptions as well as current online gaming consumption figures. Additional research from the report shows:

  • Consumers ages 25-34 watch content from video-sharing sites an average of 10 days per month.
  • Among all broadband consumers, only 15 per cent feel online video is more authentic than television.
  • 29 per cent of consumers would rather watch a live stream of an event than attend the event itself.

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