80% of Online Americans Read Internet News
Posted on May 21, 2004Four out of five adults (80%) who are online report that they have used the Internet to read some kind of news in the last seven days. The types of online news used by the largest numbers of people are the weather (60% of all those online), national news (56%), international news (44%) and local news (36%). Currently 69% of all U.S. adults are online from home, work, school, library or other location.
A quarter (26%) of people who go online for news say that this use of the Internet reduces their use of other media such as television, newspapers, news magazines and the radio. But most (57%) say that it does not change their use of other news media, while 13% say that it changes their use of other media but doesn't reduce it.
These are some of the results of a nationwide Harris Poll of 2,415 adults surveyed online by Harris Interactive between April 13 and 18, 2004. Some of the other findings are:
- While some people (6% of those who go online for news) use the Internet for news 30 or more times a week, many (35%) do so five times or less per week. The median frequency is seven times a week.
- The median time spent each week going online for news is one hour each week. However, 14% spend four hours or more online looking at news, while 23% spend less than half an hour a week doing so.
- The online news sources used by the largest number of people are the home pages of regular Internet service providers (48%), the websites of newspapers (45%), websites of online news services (37%) and websites of TV networks or stations (37%).
- Most of those who go online for news say that, when they do so on a typical day, they usually read a page or more (45%) or read a paragraph or two (40%). Only a few (15%) say they only read the headlines.
- A large majority (78%) of those who go online for news say that when a major news event occurs they usually read a page or more.
TABLE 1: TYPES OF NEWS PEOPLE HAVE GONE ONLINE FOR IN LAST SEVEN DAYS
"Have you gone online for any of the following kinds of news in the last seven days? (Please select as many as apply)
|All Adults Online|
|Local news about my home town or community||36%|
|News about movies or television||31%|
|Business and financial news||27%|
|News of my home state||26%|
|News about elections, candidates or politicians||23%|
|News about movie or television stars||16%|
|News about sports personalities||10%|
|Have not gone online for any news in the last seven days||20%|
TABLE 2: HOW MUCH TIME SPENT ONLINE FOR NEWS IN LAST WEEK
"In the last week, how much time would you estimate that you have spent online reading or looking at all these kinds of news?"
|29 minutes or less||23%|
|30 - 59 minutes||25%|
|1 -2 hours||25%|
|More than 2 hours to 4 hours||14%|
|More than 4 hours to 5 hours||6%|
|More than 5 hours||8%|
Note: Percentages may not add up exactly due to rounding.
TABLE 3: HOW MANY TIMES ONLINE FOR NEWS IN LAST WEEK
"About how many times have you gone online for this kind of news in the last week?"
|1 - 5 times||35%|
|6 - 10||26%|
|11 - 20||12%|
|21 - 30||4%|
|31 - 40||1%|
|41 or more||1%|
TABLE 4: TYPES OF SITES USUALLY VISITED FOR NEWS
"When you go online for this kind of news, do you usually visit . . .?" (Select as many as apply)
|Just the headlines on the home page of my service provider||48%|
|A website of a newspaper||45%|
|A website of an online news service||37%|
|A website of a TV network or station||37%|
|A website of a magazine||10%|
|Another kind of website||24%|
TABLE 5: EFFECT OF ONLINE ACTIVITY ON USE OF OTHER MEDIA
"What effect does your use of the Internet to look for news have on your use of other media such as television, newspapers, magazines, and the radio? Does it replace or reduce your use of those media or does it add to your other news sources?"
|It doesn't change my use of other media||57%|
|It reduces my use of other media||26%|
|It changes my use of other media but doesn't reduce it||13%|
TABLE 6: WHICH MEDIA ARE USED LESS BECAUSE OF ONLINE ACTIVITY
"Which media do you think you use less because you go online for news?"
TABLE 7: HOW MUCH PEOPLE READ WHEN THEY GO ONLINE FOR NEWS
Q: "When you go online for news, which of the following do you usually do on a typical day?"
Q: "And what do you do if you know that a major news event has occurred?"
|On A Typical Day||When Major Event Has Occurred|
|Just read the headlines||15%||4%|
|Read a paragraph or two||40%||18%|
|Read a page or more||45%||78%|
TABLE 8: TIME SPENT EACH WEEKDAY READING NEWSPAPERS OR NEWS MAGAZINES OR WATCHING NEWS ON TV
Q: "Roughly how much time each weekday do you spend reading a newspaper or news magazine?"
Q: "And roughly how much time do you spend each weekday watching the news (not other shows) on TV?"
|Reading Newspapers or News Magazines Total|
|1 - 15 minutes||25%|
|16 - 30 minutes||24%|
|31 minutes to 1 hour||21%|
|More than 1 hour||11%|
The Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between April 13 and 18, 2004 among a nationwide cross section of 2,415 adults aged 18 and over. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. "Propensity score" weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.
In theory, with probability samples of this size, one could say with 95 percent certainty that the results have a statistical precision of + or - 2 percentage points of what they would be if the entire adult population had been polled with complete accuracy. Unfortunately, there are several other possible sources of error in all polls or surveys that are probably more serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. They include refusals to be interviewed (non-response), question wording and question order, and weighting. It is impossible to quantify the errors that may result from these factors. This online sample was not a probability sample.