Young Adults Consuming Less News
News organizations confronting declining advertising revenues and the transition to digital media have yet another long-term trend to worry about: in addition to
generally consuming less news than their elders now, young adults are also unlikely to develop a taste for news as they grow older, according to new research from Pew based on longitudinal surveys of
different age groups.
It’s no secret that younger generations consume less news overall. Pew found that members of the “Silent” generation, ages 67-84, spent 84 minutes the previous day watching, reading, or listening to news in 2012, compared to 77 minutes per day for Boomers (ages 48-66), 66 minutes per day for Gen Xers (33-47), and 46 minutes per day for Millennials (18-31).
In addition, over time Millennials and Gen Xers don’t appear to be ramping up their news consumption significantly: from 2010 to 2012 the amount of time spent consuming news by Gen Xers actually decreased from 71 minutes to 66 minutes, while Millennials were basically flat, edging up from 45 minutes to 45 minutes. Back in 2004, the figures were 63 minutes for Gen Xers in 2004 and 43 minutes for Millennials.
It may not be a surprise that given these results, older adults were also more likely to report that they actively enjoy consuming news, with 58% of Silents and Boomers saying they enjoy the news, versus 45% of Gen Xers and 29% of Millennials.
In terms of media, TV and the Internet are the clear winners for news consumption among younger adults. Among Gen Xers, in Pew’s 2012 survey, 52% said they had watched TV news and 49% said they had consulted the Internet for news the previous day. That compares to 38% for radio and just 12% for newspapers. Meanwhile the Internet was tops among Millennials, with 43% getting their news online, compared to 35% for TV, 27% for radio, and 14% for newspapers. Among both groups the Internet has grown steadily as a favored news source, while most of the other channels have declined (TV has however stayed relatively even among Gen Xers).