The Internet, despite having recently celebrated its 40th birthday, continues to play an increasingly important role in delivering news to American consumers. As of October 12, 2009, 41% of American adults ages 18 and older agreed with the statement, “I am getting more and more of my news online.”
But are online news gatherers getting their news from traditional news outlets or are they getting it from sources not previously associated with “news”? Sites like blogs and short message services like Twitter, for example, offer consumers a more personalized experience than traditional news sites by giving users the ability to custom tailor the content of such sites to align with their interests. And early signs indicate that users view the information in their “news feeds” as legitimate sources of news: Between January 5 and October 12, 2009, the share of online news gatherers who accessed blogs or Twitter in the previous seven days rose to 23%, up from 18%. Meantime, the share of that group that accessed a traditional media site fell to 38% from 43%, a decline of over 11% in less than a year.
As bloggers and tweeters become increasingly sophisticated and savvy about posting relevant content, the major news anchors will likely be competing for audience share as much with John Q. Public in the years ahead as they do with one another.