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Media (R)evolutions: TV is still the king of news worldwide

Roxanne Bauer's picture

New developments and curiosities from a changing global media landscape: People, Spaces, Deliberation brings trends and events to your attention that illustrate that tomorrow's media environment will look very different from today's, and will have little resemblance to yesterday's.

For years, researchers and social critics have speculated that social media and niche interest sites were capturing more and more attention of people, thereby supplanting traditional sources of news like radio, television, and print. Much of the concern has come from data that mobile phones are proliferating around the world and that adults aged 21-34 — so-called Millennials — do not visit news sites, read print newspapers, or watch television news. Instead, this generation (and Generation Z, which follows it) spends more time on social networks, often on mobile devices. This trend can be seen worldwide, as newspapers have become a dying breed in many countries.

Nevertheless, if the current media preferences of young adults are an indication of the future, the data may offer bad news for print media, but good news for TV.  According to a Nielsen global survey of more than 30,000 online consumers across 60 countries, television is still the most popular source of news for people around the world. When asked where they get the news, 53% of the respondents named television as one of their preferred sources. Click on the image below to see how each generation differs in their media use.
preferred sources of news globally


While respondents rely on a mix of traditional and digital sources to stay informed, the age distribution of some sources may not be what you expect. TV was the most popular choice for four generations: Millennials (21-34), Gen Xers (34-49), Baby Boomers (50-64) and the Silent Generation (65+). Generation Z respondents (15-20 years old) were the only ones to favor social media sites over TV for news consumption.

Conversely, reliance on print is exclusive to seniors, among whom 38% cite newspapers as a preferred source of news. By contrast, 19% of Generation X, 14% of Generation Y and 12% of Generation Z choose to get their news from newspapers.

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Image from
Nielsen Global Generational Lifestyles Survey