Study: Internet doesn't replace local TV news

by Katy Bachman, Mediaweek

There is plenty of local news on the Internet, but it isn’t replacing local TV newscasts, according to a new study from Crawford Johnson & Northcott, a market research and consulting firm specializing in local TV. The study found that 75 percent of Internet users watch a local newscast at least twice a week and 52 percent said they try to watch at least one local newscast per day.

“We’ve heard a lot of talk about how the Web is replacing television as a source for news. This indicates that’s not the case at all. Web users as a group watch as much local TV news as anyone else,” said Bob Crawford, a partner with Crawford, Johnson & Northcott.

TV station Web sites have come a far way in the past year, redesigned and repositioned to provide local consumers with a 24/7 source of local news and information, including local weather.

Although stations put a lot of resources behind their weather brand, consumers are just as likely to seek out other Internet sources for weather. Only 26 percent said they would go to a local TV Web site for weather; 9 percent said they’d go to a newspaper site; 13 percent go to a national news site such as CNN or Fox News; and 40 percent said they go to some other site.

Consumers are also just as likely to turn to a local newspaper site for local news as the local TV station Web site. According to the study, 37 percent said they would go to a local TV Web site for local news stories versus the 35 percent who responded they would go to a local newspaper site.

TV stations have an edge when it comes to driving viewers to their site; 68 percent of consumers said they went to a local TV station web site for more information about a story covered in a local newscast.

The Web-based interview study was based on a sample of 861 respondents between the ages of 18 and 64.

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