The Pew Internet project has just released a lengthy report on online news consumption entitled Understanding the Participatory News Consumer. There are no search-specific findings; however it appears from the survey data that “portal websites like Google News, AOL and Topix are the most commonly used online news sources, visited by over half of online news users on a typical day.”
Here are some of the high-level findings from the report:
- 92% get news from multiple platforms on a typical day, with half of those using four to six platforms daily. Fully 59% get news from a combination of online and offline sources on a typical day. Just over a third (38%) rely solely on offline sources, and 2% rely exclusively on the internet for their daily news.
- 75% of online news consumers say they get news forwarded through email or posts on social networking sites and 52% say they share links to news with others via those means.
- 51% of social networking site (e.g. Facebook) users who are also online news consumers say that on a typical day they get news items from people they follow.
- Most people say they use between two and five online news sources and 65% say they do not have a single favorite website for news. Some 21% say they routinely rely on just one site for their news and information.
- 33% of cell phone owners now access news on their cell phones.
- 28% of internet users have customized their home page to include news from sources and on topics that particularly interest them.
- 37% of internet users have contributed to the creation of news, commented about it, or disseminated it via postings on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.
The consumer behavior identified in the report inherently favors aggregators and portals, which can bring together news from multiple sources, rather than individual publications. Hence the frustration and anger of some in the traditional media world at Google (and others to a lesser degree). They have lost control of distribution. And it appears that News Corp. may be poised to express that frustration in the form of a lawsuit against Google, according to New York magazine and CNET.