Growing U.S. Audience Reads News On Net p.14

By: hoag levins New study cites 20 million regular online news readers
More than 20 million U.S. Internet users ? or better than half the country's Internet users ? regularly log online to obtain news of the sort they used to get from print and broadcast outlets, according to a new study funded by MSNBC on the Internet.
The findings confirm what has been obvious to many during recent periods of breaking national news stories like the White House sex scandal ? large numbers of the general public are making Internet news reading a routine part of their daily life. In fact, the survey found that nearly one-quarter (22%) of those who use the Internet as a news source use it every day of the week.
Conducted by Market Facts Inc. of Arlington Heights, Ill., the MSNBC survey was designed to assess the news-reading habits of Internet users, comparing how much time they spend obtaining news from online, newspaper, broadcast TV, radio, cable TV and magazine sources.
Headquartered in Redmond, Wash., MSNBC is a 24-hour cable news network and Internet news service operated as a joint venture by NBC and Microsoft Corp.
Market Facts/MSNBC reports that 20.1 million U.S. residents use the Internet as a source for news ? an audience representing 53% of the 38 million people in the U.S. estimated to access the Internet.
At the same time, 82% of those 20.1 million also said they regularly read newspapers; 74% said they regularly watched broadcast TV for news; 71% said they watched cable TV for news; and 57% said they read news-related magazines.

"The Internet news usage behavior pattern is shaping up similar to broadcast television in terms of weekday use, and is used more than cable television, newspapers and magazines during that same period of time," said Merrill Brown, editor in chief MSNBC on the Internet. "Additionally, on Saturdays, the Internet is used more than broadcast television, radio or newspapers, and on a weekly basis has nearly the same hours of use as newspapers."
The survey found that the types of news that users want are similar across all media. The most important topics are local and national news, weather and world news. However, researchers found that at-work patterns of Internet use suggest that the Internet is preferred above other media as a source for financial news.
Nearly one-third (32%) of online news consumers said they go online to get financial news, followed by newspapers (27%), cable television (21%), and magazines (10%).
With an average of 3.5 hours of use per week, Internet news reading leads magazines (2.4 hours); is almost tied with newspapers (3.6 hours); and is slightly behind radio (4.5 hours), cable TV (5.0 hours), and broadcast TV (5.7 hours).

The Net is used by more than half of all online news consumers during day and evening hours. During the day, more than half (53%) use the Internet to get their news, surpassing newspapers (34%), cable television (43%), radio (48%), and magazines (52%), while almost equaling broadcast television (59%). During the evening, more than half (51%) use the Internet to get their news, surpassing radio (14%), newspapers (20%), magazines (46%), and approaching broadcast television (57%) and cable television (62%).
The survey found that the average online news user is male, age 35-44 (28.9%) with a college degree (30.0%), married (61%), and has an income of over $50,000 per year (36.9%).
Market Facts/MSNBC surveyors collected data via telephone interviews with a random sample of 350 online news users.
All participants were screened for regular Internet usage (during the previous two weeks) and at least a minimum consumption of news in some form (from any news media during the previous two weeks).

?(E&P Web Site: http://www.mediainfo. com)
?(copyright: February 21, 1998)


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