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

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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

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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

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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

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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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