Media Consumption Of 2016 Political News: Strong Gains, Cable TV Soars

There is more evidence that TV news consumption rose sharply in 2016, due to a surprising presidential election.

Nielsen says there was an 18% gain in news media consumption in 2016 over the year before -- to 72.5 billion minutes. The bulk of this came from large turnout in watching TV cable news networks.

Adults 18 + watched 44% more national cable TV networks, in term of gross minutes a week, versus 2015. For the individual viewer, this averaged six and half hours a week watching national cable news networks -- an hour and a half more than in 2015, and a hour and forty-five minutes from the last presidential election in 2012.

Nielsen says local TV news consumption in the local people meter markets was slightly down to 15.1 billion minutes from 15.3 million billion minutes a week. Its average weekly consumption among its news consumers came to four hours/27 minutes virtually the same versus the year before, 4:30.

National broadcast networks witnessed a 5% gain to 14.3 billion minutes a week.

Radio news in portable people meter markets rose 10% to 10.5 billion minutes a week, with average weekly news consumption among news consumers of five hours a week.

News consumption from smartphones rose 50% to 1.5 billion minutes a weeks; nearly 25% of that came from consumers 18-34.

Radio commanded the largest share of “weekly viewing/reading/listening to news” among adults 18 years and older in 2016 -- 12.4%. This was followed by national cable news networks, 8.5%; local TV news, 6.3%; national broadcast, 4.5%; news on personal computers, 4.2%; and smartphone, 0.7%.

National broadcast TV news and local TV news had the greatest reach of all media among the demographic of those two years and older -- national broadcast 46.2% and local TV news 44.9%.

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