Consumers Trust Local News Sites

December 6, 2010

US consumers use and trust local news sites at high rates, according to [pdf] a new study from Frank M. Magid Associates, Inc. and Hearst Television, Inc.

After Search Engines, Local Television News Web Sites Are Most Frequently Used for News

While search engines by far have the highest percentage of study respondents checking them once a week or more for news (67%), local TV news sites come in second with 59% of respondents checking them for news at this frequency.

Weather web sites (53%) and social media sites (49%) follow. Only 44% regularly check newspaper web sites, and even lower percentages regularly check cable news (40%) or broadcast TV network (33%) sites.

Weather, Local TV News Sites Dominate Online Weather Traffic

While weather sites expectedly have the highest percentage of respondents checking them once a week or more for weather information (56%), local TV news sites barely trail (55%). No other type of site comes anywhere close to this level of regular use for weather information. News on search engines places a distant third (26%).

Local TV News Sites Most Important for Community Info

The highest percentage of respondents (31%) say local TV news sites are the most important source of community information (31%), followed by newspaper sites (26%). Broadcast network TV sites come in fifth (10%), while cable news sites tie news on search engines for last (8%).

Local TV News Sites Ads Have Strong Impact

Advertising on local TV sites proves to have a strong impact on consumers. A leading 17% of respondents say they can trust products and services advertised on local TV news sites, and a leading 22% say these sites keep them in the know about products and brands in the marketplace.

In addition, 12% of respondents have purchased a product or service as a result of an ad on a local TV news site (second to 17% who have done so on local information sites), and 16% think products and services advertised on local TV news sites are meant for people like them (second to 21% who think the same way about advertising on local information sites).

Local News More Important

Other study results indicate a commanding 81% of study respondents consider local TV news to be their most important TV news source. In contrast, 13% selected cable news and only 6% said broadcast network news.

When it comes to watching a news broadcast from start to finish, 30% of respondents indicated they watch both local and cable TV news programs from start to finish. Broadcast network news programs lagged behind with only 19% saying they watch this type of news program the whole way through.

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