October 31, 2020

Pew Research Reports: “Many Americans Get News on YouTube, Where News Organizations and Independent Producers Thrive Side by Side”

From Pew Research:

Most YouTube news consumers say the site is an important way they get news, but not the most importantMost Americans use YouTube, the massive, Google-owned video-sharing website where users can find and watch content on almost anything, from dancing cats to popular music to instructions on how to build a house.

YouTube also has become an important source of news for many Americans. About a quarter of all U.S. adults (26%) say they get news on YouTube. And while relatively few of these people say it is their primary news source, most say it is an important way they stay informed.

This raises the question: What kind of news are Americans getting on YouTube, and who are they getting it from? A new Pew Research Center study explores these questions in two ways: through a survey, conducted Jan. 6-20, 2020, among 12,638 U.S. adults that asked YouTube news consumers about their experiences on the website; and through an analysis of the most popular YouTube news channels and the contents of the videos published by a subset of these channels in December 2019.

Independent YouTube channels about twice as likely as news organizations to produce videos with a negative tone

The study finds a news landscape on YouTube in which established news organizations and independent news creators thrive side by side – and consequently, one where established news organizations no longer have full control over the news Americans watch.

Indeed, the survey finds that most YouTube news consumers say they at least sometimes turn to news organizations as well as independent channels for news on the platform, and identical shares (23% each) often turn to each type of source. (Channels associated with news organizations are either the official channel of a news outlet, like CNN or Fox News, or one that features a particular program, show or journalist from these outlets. Independent channels do not have a clear affiliation with any external entity.)

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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