Where Do People Really Get Their News? – You’d Be Surprised

internet-medios-500x3331According to a study by leading consultants McKinsey and Company, if you measure news consumption in the U.S. by time spent, rather than raw audience numbers, the results aren’t what many would expect.  Using this measurement, digital platforms are only pulling around 8 percent of the actual news consumption.

Surprising, eh?  But, according to the study, 35 percent of Americans get their news from newspapers and magazines, 16 percent from radio and other audio, and 41 percent from television.  On the other hand, smart phones and tablets each account for only 2 percent of time spent and desktop/laptop 4 percent.

Whereas digital devices get slightly more than half of total media time and  about 10 times more than newspapers and magazines, the amount of  time people spend reading print publications, compared to the short stints people spend on their smart phones, tablets or laptops, multiplies its share sevenfold when only news consumption is considered.

Screen-Shot-2013-05-13-at-8.17.50-AMThe study was part of a presentation that McKinsey principal Michael Lamb recently gave to the INMA World Congress in New York. And although the findings might sound startling, when you think of it, they actually make sense.  Most people I know glean the basic news information online, meaning the headlines, the basic stories, but get their real meat through more traditional sources.

I generally give the CNN or Mashable homepage a quick overview throughout the day; it’s usually when I steal a few moments between calls or emails.  Checking online, I get the gist of what’s going on, but don’t read the full story.  I usually get the in-depth news while listening to NPR while driving, or watching a news program at the gym, or grabbing a newspaper at lunch.  Apparently, my system of news gathering is not that rare.

Whereas there are studies that show that quick checks on laptops, tablets, or smart phones during working hours make up a large share of online traffic, what is known as the legacy media outlets are still where most people take in the majority of their news consumption.  It’s digital for the headlines, but legacy for the real news stories.

So what does that mean in public relations or marketing terms?  A lot.  It means when launching your PR campaign or promotional outreach, you need to realize how the various news outlets and devices are utilized and plan your campaigns accordingly.  It means this is not an either/or world when it comes to media and marketing.   You want to have your business or company found online and you want your stories in the traditional media, which will also be picked up online.  Basically, you want to cover all the bases, but understanding how your target audience is gathering their media and where gives you a real world advantage.

Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 2013

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