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Digital News Continues To Erode Traditional Media Strength

by Bill

Americans are increasingly turning to mobile devices for their news, which shouldn’t come as much surprise to anyone with a smartphone and an internet connection, but the pace with which print newspapers are losing ground according to new polling data is eye opening.

A new study released by The Pew Research Center detailed a recent acceleration in the use of mobile devices for news over the last three years as the segment of society getting at least some of their news from their mobile devices reached 72% in 2016 which is a massive leap from the 54% mark established in the previous 2013 study. That number also includes 36% who responded that they get news from their mobile device “often” as well. By comparison, only 20% of adults claimed to get their news from print newspapers often, compared with 27% from the older study.

This is a trend that is sure to gain strength over time because of the generational gap in the data. A mere 5% of the 18-29 age group responded that they “often” read newspapers, while 48% in the over-65 age group still do. That gap becomes especially important when one considers that these different demographics are getting news from completely separate sources and that in fact each group may be getting different or contradictory news from the other as well.

The Pew report is based on a two-part study that queried 4,654 US adults from January 12th to February 8th and then used 14 short online surveys administered in February and March to a total of 2,078 participants. The stated margin of error for the full sample was estimated by the research team to be +/- 2.4%.

What this means for website owners and marketers is that a sales pitch or advertising campaign can now be calibrated to differently to match the world view of varying demographics based on where their news is coming from, or that advertorial content embedded in many of these newer news outlets online may soon allow marketers to entrench their own narrative in the mind of potential customers in ways that lead consumers to believe they found a product, rather than the more factual truth that the product or service was expertly advertised to them in ways too subtle to be noticed and too powerful to be ignored.

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