UK communications regulator Ofcom has worked out that younger people mainly get their news from the internet.
Any parent could have told Ofcom that kids and teens these days hardly watch broadcast TV at all, let alone the Nine O’Clock News. Instead, what news they consume will come from a combination of messaging groups, social media, YouTube and internet forums. On the whole, however, you wouldn’t expect news content, as opposed to other forms of information gathering or entertainment, to be a priority for anyone under 20.
So it comes as a bit of a surprise to hear that, according to Ofcom’s research, 89% of people aged 16-24 follow news stories online and 61% of them watch TV news. Incidentally, similar proportions apply to all people of a minority ethnic background. It’s very difficult to speculate why this may be the case but, of course, you’re far more likely to find alternative, non-establishment topics and opinions online, which is presumably a big part of its appeal over TV.
For the entire population TV still wins for news, with the proportion increasing with age. The interesting question this poses is whether habits change with age or whether older people are just stuck with the TV news habit of their relative youth. We suspect it’s the latter and that today’s young people will continue to prefer the internet over the telly as they get older.