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Third of consumers use social media for news

News, 17 February 2017
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DALLAS: Some 29% of US broadband households get most of their news from social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, although a slim majority of consumers feel that TV is more authentic than online video, a new study has found.

According to market research firm Park Associates, more than half (52%) of consumers regard TV as more authentic than online video, but it identified a trend whereby younger consumers are showing a growing affinity for online video.

Park Associates suggested in its report, entitled 360 View: Digital Media & Connected Consumers, that the popularity of online video and social media among younger consumers could present problems for traditional media networks.

The research found that nearly 30% of consumers aged 18-24 believe online video is more authentic than TV, and this age group watches content from video sharing sites an average of 13 days per month compared to only seven days per month among consumers aged 35-44.

"The fact that nearly one-third of consumers ages 18-24 share deeper connections with online video personalities than with TV personalities is cause for concern for established media companies," said Glenn Hower, Senior Analyst at Park Associates.

"The next generation is embracing online media, and a media status quo will all but guarantee eyeballs shift away from the television," he added.

The report went on to warn media companies that, with such a high proportion of consumers relying on online video and social media for their news consumption, they must try to tackle the phenomenon of "fake news" on the internet.

"Younger consumers, many of whom are passionate about social issues, can find and spread information like wildfire through social media. This is a real problem when inaccurate or unverified reports slip through social media algorithms," Hower said.

"It has really raised an economic crisis in the journalism space. Trained journalists are necessary for reporting accurate news stories, but consumers increasingly are resistant to paying for news content."

Data sourced from Park Associates; additional content by Warc staff

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