Viewers in U.S. continue to migrate online to watch news

Online video news consumption continues to grow in the United States with a new report saying that as many adults now get their news from watching online video as from cable news stations or Facebook.

The 11th Edition of the State of the News Media 2014, from the Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project, estimates 36% of all U.S. adults watch online video, and 36% of those adults watch video news.

That’s a 9% increase since 2009, and continues a slow erosion of the audience who get their news from more traditional sources.

Pew also cites an eMarketer report that suggests brands are noticing, as the overall digital advertising segment has increased 44% since 2012 to some $4.15 billion.

The report points out that improved technology has made it easier for news operations to get their product online and to deliver it to a wide audience on a variety of devices. It also notes that citizen journalism has played an increasing role, as witnesses to news events have used mobile phones to record news events, which then find their way to the web, sometimes as part of a professional newscast. About one-in-10 online news consumers have submitted their own content to news organizations or blogs.

Pew calls out the efforts of Vice Media – which launched a digital news channel this year — and NBC – which acquired Stringwire in 2013 — in expanding their digital news outlets as examples of where the space might be heading. And, said Pew, “some who have moved most powerfully into this space are digital natives, not tethered to legacy platforms that still account for a good portion of their audience and revenue.”

Local news stations, to a varying degree, also have moved online. Pew said 88% of the local TV stations it surveyed had video on their homepages, with 44% offering live streaming of their news shows. Three quarters also had mobile apps that allowed users to watch video from their news operations.

The report also found that, as you’d expect, younger audiences have more fully adopted online video as their source of news. The report found that 90% of 18-to-29-year-olds watch online videos, and almost half (48%) watch online news videos.

But it’s not just younger audiences who watch news online, Pew said. In fact, slightly more (49%) of 30-to-49-year-olds also watch online news video.

Among older audiences, 27% of 50-to-64-year-olds and 11% of those 65 and older also watch online news videos.

Pew posits that the continued adoption of smarthones by Americans likely will help to accelerate the growth of online news audiences, too.

Already, more than half (53%) of all smartphone owners watch online news videos.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn