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Facebook Inc (FB), CBS Corporation (CBS): What’s the Most Popular Source for News? The Answer May Surprise You!

One hundred years ago, a newspaper was a precious commodity. There was no television, no radio, and no Internet where people could gather easy access to the world’s most pressing events. You could almost say that with the advent of all three, we as a society have lost the importance of accessing news events.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)

However, what’s been lost in scarcity has been replaced by gigantic dollar signs for the many television, newspaper, radio, and Internet companies that derive advertising and sponsorship money by featuring compelling news stories. Television has clearly become a more accessible content medium over the past 50 years, but content growth on the Internet is surging.

That’s why I was so intrigued by Gallup’s poll last week, which asked 2,048 adults to think about the various mediums for U.S. current event content distribution today and name how they most often keep up on current events. Before reading the answers, I would have ventured a guess that the Internet and television were in a dead heat, with newspapers and radio nearly tied with one another, but quite a way back. The results proved me wrong.

Here are the actual results broken down by Gallup as to where people turn for U.S. current events:

Where do Americans turn for news? %
Television 55%
Internet 21%
Print 9%
Radio 6%
No opinion 3%
Word of mouth 2%
Other 2%
Media (non-specific) 1%
None/Don’t follow the news 1%

Source: Gallup.

I don’t know about you, but I am utterly stunned by the disparity between television and the Internet. Understandably the Internet is only two decades old, so it’s still in the process of maturing. In addition, age plays a significant role in how relevant current events are and what content medium is used. Young people aren’t nearly as likely to keep up on current events as baby boomers are, and boomers are certainly more likely to get their current event content from TV rather than the Internet.

Who’s winning on TV?
Understand that news is just one factor that drives viewership, but Fox and CNN are the two networks driving current-events viewership better than anyone else by a long shot.

With 7% of the 2,048 responses, Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX)‘s CNN is doing a phenomenal job in captivating audiences. With this type of viewership comes significant pricing power, which Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX) can use to charge top dollar for ads on CNN. The same can be said of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOX), the recent spinoff of News Corp (NASDAQ:NWSA)., which took the top honors with 8% of all responses. Not surprisingly, both cable operators have seen their stocks soaring of late, which both can attribute to strong pricing power.

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