Online will overtake TV news within five years

Research from news consumers in seven countries predicts that online news and information sources will overtake TV newscasts within five years. Even today, many people believe it’s already easier to get news online than to read a newspaper.

The data came from a Harris Interactive poll on newspapers and online sites and was released last week at the World Association of Newspapers conference in Cape Town, South Africa. The research came from a poll of 8749 adults taken last month in seven countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Australia.

While television news programs on broadcast and cable networks are the primary information providers today in all the regions polled, a sharp increase in the role of online news information is predicted for five years down the road, largely at the expense of television, with smaller inroads into the market for newspapers.

Despite the likely decline in print circulation, newspaper publishers should see a challenge and an opportunity in extending their brands online, according to Douglas S. Griffen, a Harris consultant who presented the research results.

Looking five years down the road, the poll points to significant increases in all geographies for online news and information, and significant parallel losses for television network news, with modest increases for cable news, and newspapers down from moderately to significantly in all countries surveyed. Radio remains relevant, with moderate decreases.

Consumers said the top three things editors can do to make their services more attractive are to cover more local news and information, improve journalistic quality and provide more in-depth analysis of world events.

Many consumers claimed today’s news has too biased or narrow a viewpoint, and suffers in the quality of writing and analysis.