- Reuters, Monday, July 31, 2006 11:45 AM
One-third of Americans are using the Internet to get their news this year, compared to one in 50 in 1996. But that number is about the same as it was two years ago--indicating that online news
audience growth may have hit a wall, says a new Pew Research Center study. Among younger users 18-24 who get their news online at least three days a week, the growth rate in online consumption was
just 1 percent between 2002 and 2006. However, readers ages 35 to 49 increased their consumption by 12 percent during the same period. That suggests a couple of things: first, 18- to-24-year-olds are
the most established Internet audience segment, and second, news is more important to older demos. "For young people in particular, getting the news often takes a back seat to other daily activities,"
said the study, which was based on telephone interviews with more than 3,200 U.S. adults in April and May. Also, despite what's perceived to be a proliferation of media consumption among consumers,
the percentage of Americans who skip news altogether on a single day has remained the same since the early 1990s, when their media choices were far more limited, the study noted. It places the
spotlight on an ongoing problem for news organizations: growing and keeping their audience. More choices have merely resulted in a fractured media landscape, not a bigger pie all around.
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