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Studies & Research

Comedy Central Study: A Majority Of Millennials Still Get News From TV

A new study from Comedy Central (yes, that Comedy Central) and TRU Insights sheds light on the political habits of Millennials, people aged 16-32.

Among the surprising results: a majority of millennials surveyed say they still get their election news from network TV newscasts and cable news, and while it is fun to say that “The Daily Show” is a source of election news, the reality is they get their news elsewhere, and turn to the comedy shows for fun.

“Most say that they get facts and insights from a variety of mainstream news sources; however Millennials are going to political comedies/satires to gain perspective on the issues,” the report says. “When it comes to political comedy/satires, Millennials don’t watch to get informed; they watch because they are informed.”

Frequent Sources of Election News:
• 68% Network News
• 58% Online Aggregator (Yahoo!, Google)
• 56% Cable News
• 52% Facebook or Twitter
• 50% Political Satire Shows (The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Weekend Update)
• 50% News Website
• 44% Newspaper
• 37% Late Night Talk (The Tonight Show, Late Night)

Comedy Central also posted a chart and video detailing “5 Ways to Win The Millennial Vote Through Humor.” As it happens, President Obama is on “The Daily Show” tonight:

Read more

Pew: TV Still Top News Source, But Young People Tuning Out

A new study from the Pew Research Center For The People and the Press notes that while TV is still the primary news source for a majority of Americans, it continues to decline overall. More concerning for TV is that younger people aren’t tuning in to begin with.

Every traditional news outlet, including TV, radio and newspapers, have been on the decline, according to the survey, while online news rises. Among young people however the trends look very different. While a majority of Americans 30 and over get news from TV, only around a third of those under 30 do (see graph below).

The survey also looks at cable news viewing habits, and finds that Fox News has declined slightly, CNN has declined greatly, and MSNBC has stayed flat. Regular readers may note that the poll still has CNN having more viewers than MSNBC, which doesn’t seem to gibe with the cable news ratings. That is true, but is likely due to the fact that CNN has more casual viewers (measured by Nielsen as “cume”), who tune in for a few minutes maybe once or twice a week, rather than FNC and MSNBC, who have more loyal and regular viewers.

The full survey is here.

Gallup: Distrust In Media Hits All-Time High

According to a new poll from Gallup, distrust in the media has reached an all-time high, with 60% of respondents having “not very much” or no trust at all. The previous high was 57%, set last Summer.

This reflects the continuation of a pattern in which negativity increases every election year compared with the year prior. The current gap between negative and positive views — 20 percentage points — is by far the highest Gallup has recorded since it began regularly asking the question in the 1990s. Trust in the media was much higher, and more positive than negative, in the years prior to 2004 — as high as 72% when Gallup asked this question three times in the 1970s.

Republicans and Independents tended to not trust the media substantially more than Democrats, who were more likely to have a favorable view. The poll also indicated that interest in national politics–while still higher than the average, is lower than it was in 2008.

Pew: Media Credibility Tumbles Across The Board

A new study from Pew suggests that the public finds news organizations–including the broadcast and cable news channels–far less believable than they have in recent years. 10 years ago in 2002, approximately 71% of respondents found news organizations to be believable, with around 30% saying otherwise. Now that has shrunk to 56% of respondents finding the news believable, with 44% saying it isn’t.

Every news organization cited, from CNN to USA Today, lost credibility with respondents.

The two most believable news outlets are “local TV news” followed by the CBS newsmagazine “60 Minutes,” which for some reason was broken out from CBS News generally. It was the only individual program to do so. USA Today, MSNBC, The New York Times and Fox News were all towards the bottom of the list.

You can see the entire Pew study, here.

Poll: Americans Sick Of The ‘Political Media’

A new poll from Public Policy Polling and Daily Kos suggests that the American public continues to sour on the political media, including the politicized cable news channels. An astonishing 78% of respondents said they had an “unfavorable” view of the political media, compared to 10% that had a favorable view.

The split was roughly even among most demographics, including men and women, age and region. The only slight differences were in the Republican-Democrat or liberal-conservative split. Democrats and liberals were slightly–albeit only slightly–more likely have a favorable view of the media, though an clear majority still did not share that view.

You can see the results from the entire poll here.

Only 44% Of Americans Learned Of Colorado Shooting Through TV

In another sign of the times, only 44% of Americans learned of the awful shooting in Colorado through TV news, according to a new survey from CJ&N.

Among younger people, the numbers are even more stark. Only 21% of 18-24 year olds learned of the shooting through TV, not much more than Facebook (18%) or word of mouth (also 18%). Older viewers were much more likely to hear of the shooting through TV, as the chart below shows.

Among all Americans (except those 55+), their first destination after hearing about the shooting was national news websites, with younger Americans heading to Facebook next.

More information on the study, here.

YouTube as a Draw for News Viewers

A 15-month study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism has found news is a major reason why people “tune in” to YouTube.

From January 2011 to March 2012, roughly a third of the most searched terms each month on YouTube were news related. This came at a time of some major world news events — visually driven stories — including the Japan earthquake and tsunami and the Arab Spring. A majority of YouTube traffic, 70%, is from outside the U.S. Still, while the top 20 tsunami videos were viewed 96 million times worldwide the week of the disaster, the PEJ figures more people watched on local and national television around the globe. In fact, the three evening newscasts drew 25 million viewers each night the week of the tsunami.

Of the most watched news videos on YouTube, more than a third (39%) were produced by citizens who found themselves witnesses to breaking news. 51% were produced by news organizations. Some of the professional news videos contained user generated footage.

“News has found a place on this video-sharing platform and in ways that are opening up the flow of information and forging new areas of cooperation and dialogue between citizens and news outlets,” said PEJ Deputy Director Amy Mitchell.

The length is another differentiator between newscasts and YouTube clips. On YouTube, the median length of the most popular news videos was 2 minutes and 1 second, which is longer than the median length of a package on local TV news (41 seconds) but shorter than the median length on the network evening newscasts (2 minutes and 23 seconds).

Other findings:

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TV News Events Dominate ‘Most Memorable TV Moments’ Survey

The AP’s David Bauder reports on a study from Nielsen and Sony, examining the most memorable TV moments of the last 50 years. While one might expect sporting events like the Super Bowl, or cultural moments like the final episode of “M.A.S.H.” to top the list, news events ended up dominating.

The companies asked respondents not only if they remember watching the event on TV, but also where they were when it happened and if they talked with others about it.

The most memorable TV moment of the last 50 years was the 9/11 terrorist attacks, followed by Hurricane Katrina, the OJ Simpson verdict, the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion and the death of Osama bin Laden.

There are lot of other fascinating nuggets, including divergent moments when it comes to men and women, and younger and older respondents. More from the AP here.

Viewer Confidence in TV News Hits All-Time Low

Confidence in TV news has hit an all-time low, according to Gallup’s annual update on confidence in U.S. institutions. Gallup queries a weighted sampling of Americans to gauge their confidence levels of institutions like the different branches of government, religious institutions and some corporate institutions.

Confidence in TV news hit 21% this year, a new low for the poll, which began in 1993. The previous low was 22% in 2010. Gallup notes that the poll was conducted before the Supreme Court healthcare fiasco, which saw Fox News and CNN blow the initial reports on the ruling, so it does not factor in any opinions that may have changed as a result.

One seismic shift: for the first time since 2007, self-described conservatives have more confidence in TV news than both self described liberals and moderates. That said, Democrats still have more confidence in TV news than either Republicans or independents. Among other demographics: younger Americans (those 18-29) have more confidence in TV than any of the older demos, and respondents with college or postgraduate degrees were less likely to have confidence in TV news than those with a high school diploma or lower.

Read the full report here.

Which TV News Outlets Are The Most ‘Civil’?

A new survey (PDF) from Weber Shandwick looks at civility in America. The study examines civility in all forms of public life, including politics, family and… the media.

The results: cable news channels are perceived to be more “uncivil” than their broadcast counterparts, but overall the perception is that the media has been getting less uncivil over time.

Of the cable channels, Fox News was perceived as the most uncivil, but also tied CNN as being the most civil. NBC News was considered to be slightly more uncivil than ABC News, CBS News or PBS News, though all four were regarded as highly civil by respondents.

Overwhelmingly, respondents said that overall the media is uncivil, with 82% saying the media is “more interested in controversy than facts.”

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