MONTREAL – Canadians are gathering more of their news from the websites of mainstream media organizations in a shift away from newspaper print editions and radio, a new poll suggests.
Thirty-six per cent of respondents to The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey said they got more news from websites of established media outlets than they did five years ago, compared with 11 per cent who consumed less and 43 per cent who collected the same.
The poll, conducted earlier this month, also indicated Canadians relied less on information in the pages of newspapers and on radio broadcasts than they did five years ago.
The survey suggested that 30 per cent of Canadians gathered less from newspaper print editions than five years ago, while 18 per cent said they consumed more and 50 per cent said about the same.
Twenty-six per cent of respondents gathered less news from listening to the radio. Eighteen per cent said they acquired more and 53 per cent said about the same.
“The websites of traditional news organizations now basically rival newspapers and radio as a platform for consuming news information,” said Jeff Walker, senior vice-president of Harris-Decima.
Respondents said they got 17 per cent of their news from the websites of established media outlets, compared with 21 per cent from newspaper print editions and 16 per cent from the radio.
“You can see that this has clearly come on stream as a major channel through which people are consuming news information,” Walker said of the results, which also suggested that respondents watched TV for 41 per cent of their news and navigated to websites of non-traditional media organizations, such as blogs, for four per cent.
The telephone survey of slightly more than 1,000 Canadians was conducted May 7-10 and is considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Despite consumer shifts between media platforms, the poll suggested that Canadians still have a huge appetite for news.
Overall, 56 per cent of respondents said they consumed news several times a day and 89 per cent said they get it at least once a day.
“There’s a broad perception that newspaper circulation and readership is declining and I think many people believe that means news consumption is declining,” Walker said.
“These results tell us that’s not true – that news consumption, if anything, is increasing.”
Walker said he’s not surprised to see more consumption of online news from established media organizations because many only started investing heavily in their web platforms in the last five years.
He said what’s really interesting is who’s doing the consuming.
In the poll results, 52 per cent of respondents who earn more than $100,000 per year gathered more news from these websites than they did five years ago, compared with five per cent who consumed less. Forty-seven per cent of those surveyed aged 18-34 got more over the same period, versus 12 per cent who sought less.
The poll also found that more Canadians turned to their television for news. Twenty-seven per cent of those surveyed said they consumed more news from TV than they did five years ago, compared with 20 per cent who tuned in less and 52 per cent the same.
“There are so many different times of day that you can access news on television … in a very quick an easy way,” said Walker.
“There may be more television channels, making it tougher for each individual channel to keep up viewership, but overall, clearly television as a platform looks like it’s increasing.”
Walker said the web versions of newspapers are a complement to hard-copy editions.
“Lots of the people that say, ‘Yes, I read the newspaper’ are also using the same websites of that same newspaper,” he said.
“When people can’t get to a newspaper, or they don’t feel like paying for a newspaper, it’s very easy for them to just go online and (get) that same news information from that same brand that they already trusted previously in print on the Internet.”
The survey also found that only four per cent of Canadians access news on their cellphone.
Walker blamed the costs of downloading content and slower mobile Internet connections for the limited use, but noted the same was once said about reading the news off a computer screen.
Poll results on how Canadians gather their news information
MONTREAL – A Canadian Press-Harris Decima survey asked more than 1,000 respondents the following question on media consumption:
For each of the following mediums, are you using them to gather news information more, less or about the same than you were five years ago?:
Newspapers:(at) More, 18 per cent; less, 30 per cent; same, 50 per cent.
Radio:(at) More, 18 per cent; less, 26 per cent; same: 53 per cent.
Television:(at) More, 27 per cent; less, 20 per cent; same, 52 per cent.
Websites of traditional news organizations:(at) More, 36 per cent; less, 11 per cent; same: 43 per cent.
Websites of non-traditional news organizations:(at) More, 17 per cent; less, 16 per cent; same: 47 per cent.