TV and digital outpacing print news: study

TV and digital outlets top sources for Anglophones, 20% of whom consider themselves news enthusiasts.

When it comes to the news, English-speaking Canadians are fairly platform-agnostic, although television and online sources continue to outpace print.

Media Technology Monitor dug into the news consumption habits of Anglophones and found 74% use an online platform to consume news content while 72% turn to television, whether a local or national newscast and 16% subscribe to either a print or digital version of a newspaper.

The mediums in which Anglophones are choosing to engage differ by age. Whether the 6:00 or 11:00 p.m. broadcast, 71% of those aged 65+ are more likely to get their news from TV, while online sources are favoured by 85% of those aged 18 to 34. The older generation is also more likely to have a newspaper subscription (34%) compared to the younger one (8%).

Roughly 37% of respondents said they felt “highly informed” when it comes to news, rating themselves eight or higher on a scale of one to 10. Some 46% reported feeling “moderately informed” while one in six rating themselves a 4 or lower, thereby feeling “uninformed.”

More than half of newspaper subscribers (57%) feel “well informed,” though they also access news using other sources in addition to print. Among those who feel “highly informed,” 94% are also discussing the news with others.

One in five Anglophones consider themselves “news enthusiasts,” those who turn to a variety of sources to get their news. This cohort is reading four or more articles in a typical day and tend to be older, more educated, more concerned with the effects of fake news and reside in cities with 500,000 or more in population.

Of the group, 90% reported using online news as their favoured source while 90% said television news, 64% said a local newscast specifically and 43% said a newspaper.

Among the nine in 10 who cited TV as their primary news source, 82% tune into a Canadians news channel, 64% rely on the CBC, 54% on CTV News and 41% on CP24. Among those who favoured digital outlets, 92% turn to the websites for traditional media outlets, 77% to those for news broadcasters, 39% to social media and 38% to other news aggregators.

Mobile screens are the most common on which news enthusiasts engage with media as three in four report using a mobile device to read news online, two-thirds a smartphone in particular. Despite the rise of podcasts and sales of smart speakers, just 3% of news enthusiasts make them their go-to device.

Media Technology Monitor is a product of CBC/Radio-Canada Research and Analysis and surveyed approximately 6,300 English-speaking Canadians.