A 2015 study from Pew Research Center says 63% of those surveyed use Twitter to get news (separate, of course, from content about family and friends). That’s 11 percentage points up from the 52% who did so two years ago.
Facebook’s rise as a source of news is even more impressive, with 63% of those surveyed saying they use Facebook to get news, versus 47% two years ago.
Even better are the results for “real-time” news consumption. Fifty-nine percent keep up with news on Twitter “as it was happening.” That number is 31% on Facebook.
Meanwhile, traditional TV news sources on three commercial broadcast networks saw good results in 2014. Evening newscast viewership grew slightly for the second year in a row, while morning newscasts saw a 2% growth in average. This followed a 7% increase in 2013.
Early evening network TV news viewership averaged 23.7 million viewers in 2014. Over the past eight years, early evening TV viewership has remain steady, averaging 22.7 million viewers. In 2008, it posted 22.9 million viewers.
In 2014, ABC and CBS had increases, but NBC saw declines. And then there is this year. We haven’t accounted yet for the upsets networks have seen due to Brian Williams' departure from “NBC Nightly News.”
While broadcast news was slightly up, cable TV news was down. Total full day median viewership for Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC combined dropped 7% in 2014 to 1.8 million viewers, according to Pew Research from Nielsen data.
What does this mean? It’s a complex picture. On the one hand, it’s another sign of fractionalized media content. But on the other, it may signal that digitally savvy consumers are perhaps carving out more time for news.
But are they better educated by having more platforms on which to watch news? That's another story.