Saturday, March 01, 2008

The stunning collapse of television news

Even we aliens who live among humans have a hard time tracking their behaviors -- particularly since we are unable to watch television without major tranquilizers.

For example, this Zogby survey shows a rate of change faster than we imagined.

Print newspaper readership evidently collapsed completely some time ago. Only 10% of the adults surveyed get their news primarily from newspapers:
...10% newspaper figure is bolstered by the senior crowd, 17% of whom are still committed to the absurdly resource-intensive practice of consuming news on pulped, printed, and delivered dead trees. (... only 7% of the 18-29 crowd follows this example)...
Aliens, of course, stopped subscribing to print newspapers around 1998. I hadn't noticed the absence of newspaper delivery in our neighborhood until I read this however. It's been a long time since I've seen anyone delivering a newspaper to a neighboring home. In fact, it's been a while since I've seen a newspaper in a home, though I routinely read them at the cafe.

I suppose the newspaper delivery business, which I entered around age 8 or so, has gone the way of the telegram.

The really surprising story is the collapse of television as a news source:
... 48% said their primary source of news is the Internet (up 20% from only a year ago)....38% of 65+ year olds are clinging to TV as the primary source of news, but they're the only age group that favors a medium other than the Internet as the primary delivery vehicle...
That 20% shift is almost entirely from television news to the Internet. In one year.

Of course a good chunk of the news this alien reads on the net comes from the NYT, the BBC, and, via Google, by a range of traditional providers. My Feed portion, however, comes largely from non-traditional providers. (The Economist is on the list however).

I wonder what the humans are using for net news?
36% regard "blogs" as an important source of news.
Uh oh. The humans are turning into aliens ...

The real story, however, is the collapse of television news as a routine source of news. I've already mentioned that our children's generation don't seem to watch television much at all.

I don't think the sudden death of television is getting enough attention. The pending switch to digital broadcast will kill off our rabbit ears, I wonder if it will finish off traditional broadcast and cable television completely.

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