Local TV Preferred News Source

December 7, 2010

US consumers prefer local TV as a source of news compared to other forms of media by a wide margin, according to [pdf] a new study from Frank M. Magid Associates, Inc. and Hearst Television, Inc.

More than Half of Consumers Prefer Local TV News

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When asked their preferred media for news, more than half of consumers (55%) cited local TV. Websites/internet came in a distant second, mentioned by 19% of consumers.

No other type of media even received a double-digit answer. Cable TV came in third with an 8% response rate, tied with print newspapers. Broadcast network news only scored a 5% response rate, and no respondents selected print magazines.

Local TV News Leads in Importance

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Consumers consider local TV the most important form of news media for a variety of uses. Sixty-one percent say it is essential to keeping them informed, trailed by print newspapers (54%) and websites (43%).

In terms of being the most important source of community news, local TV was selected by 61% of respondents, followed closely by print newspapers (57%), with websites in a distant third (21%).

Seventy-one percent consider local TV news to be their most important source of weather information, with mobile web apps earning a strong 35% response rate considering their relative newness, followed by websites (32%).

Local TV news also received the highest response rate as an important source of political news (57%), followed by print newspapers (44%) and websites (37%).

Local TV News Ads Keep Consumers Up to Date

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Twenty-four percent of respondents say local TV news ads keep them up-to-date with new products and services, trailing only print newspapers (38%) and leading other media such as radio (18%) and print magazines (16%).

Local TV News Ads Get High Marks for Trust, Respectability

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While the 18% of consumers saying ads that run during local TV news programs are trustworthy may seem low, it ties print magazines for second place, barely behind leading medium print newspapers (19%).

Local TV news ads also received the second-highest ranking for being a respectable place to advertise (48%), just behind the 49% respectability rating of print newspapers and edging out the 47% rating of print magazines. Radio came in fourth with 37% of respondents calling radio a respectable advertising medium.

Local News Personalities More Trusted, Engaging

When asked about news personalities, 50% of respondents say local news has anchors/personalities they trust and 42% say local news has anchors/personalities who make them want to spend more time watching the news, according to other survey results.

In comparison, 49% of respondents of respondents say broadcast network news has anchors/personalities they trust and 40% say local news has anchors/personalities who make them want to spend more time watching the news. Local news personalities have a slightly higher lead on cable news personalities, who were mentioned by 39% and 37% of respondents respectively.

Furthermore, a higher percentage of respondents say local news is a good source of information on products and services (30%) than say broadcast network news (24%) or cable news (23%).

About the Data: Frank M. Magid Associates conducted an online survey of 2,500 local news viewers age 25-54 in the Hearst news footprint from October 5-13, 2010.

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