How do Canadians get their news?

TV is still king when it comes to Canadians’ preferred choice for accessing the news, but only just. Of the 1,682 surveyed for the newest study by the Canadian Media Research Consortium, 38 per cent say that television is the format they prefer for news and information; 30 per cent say they prefer to boot up their computer and go online.

However, when asked where they find the most interesting news items, more than 50 per cent said, in general, they find the best stuff on the net. A measly 27 per cent selected television, and — even more grim — only 15 per cent and six per cent chose newspapers and radio, respectively.

Needless to say, the study also found out that, if forced to choose, more people (42 per cent) would be least willing to give up their Internet connection, compare to their cable TV subscription (24 per cent). Just over 15 per cent would be least willing to give up their newspaper subscription.

The numbers are even more skewed toward net preference the lower you go down the age bracket. About 48 per cent of Canadians aged 18-34 prefer accessing the news online, compared to only 26 per cent of those in the 35-54 age group, and 17 per cent of those in the over 55 group.

So does all signal the death knell for broadcast TV? Not so fast, says report co-author Darryl Korell.  

“There is a clear preference for online platforms, and those platforms will only become more prevalent in the lives of Canadians in the future,” Korell acknowledges. However, the results also indicate a strong desire for visual forms of journalism.

Meaning, says Korell:  

“This does not herald the death of broadcast TV. Rather, the television medium transfers well to online media. The reach of television news will only increase with online access. TV news is poised to gain an even larger share of the news market in the future.”

In other words, broadcast TV will find new, and perhaps more popular, life when it re-airs on the web. And this little tidbit does come with a warning.

According to the CMRC report:

“The availability of rich media content and services accessible through home Internet and mobile devices –- smartphones and tablets –- is increasing. More television and radio content is becoming easily accessible online at a rapid pace … No matter if they choose to provide audio, visual or textbased news formats, news and information providers that fail to focus on providing content for computers, tablets, and smartphones will be left behind.”