It was not too long ago when we were bemoaning all the people engaged in conversation anywhere and everywhere on their cell phones. Now look who’s talking … hardly anyone! Nope, they are not talking. What are they all doing? Many of them are watching video! Whether they are sitting in a restaurant, waiting for a bus, sitting on a park bench, or even right in their own homes, they are binge watching an entire season of some show or are watching funny cat videos on YouTube until their hearts’ content. All of this is being done right there … in the palm of their hands. According to YouTube statistics, they have over a billion users (almost a third of all people on line) and reach more 18-34/18-49 year olds than any cable network in the U.S. And, video watch time is up a whopping 60% year to year.

But are they also live streaming local news broadcasts or going to local news websites to watch news videos?

CivicScience asked the questions over about a 4-day period and collected approximately 2,100 responses to each. We weighted the results according to the US Census.

Turns out live streaming live local newscasts is NOT what most people choose to do. A whopping 71% responded they have NEVER done this!

News streaming - topline

Of the 71% who have never done it … it is not a surprise that most were over the age of 35. And it was split exactly 50/50 Male/Female.

What about just going to local news sites to watch news videos? This fares a little better. Of the 2,158 responses, only 36% have said they have never done this. 23% answered daily, 13% weekly, 8% monthly, and 20% answered several times a year.

Here’s the comparison between the two questions looking at the “never” respondents:

News streaming - table

I wondered if there was any similarity to people who answered they have never live streamed a local newscast and people who have answered rarely or never to the question “How often do you watch local television news where you live?” In the past month we have collected 3,121 responses to that question and found 40% rarely or never watch local TV news.

Here’s what was uncovered about those non-watchers:

  • 52% are men, vs. 48% women
  • 53% are under the age of 35
  • 31% of people are between the age of 35-54

It’s not surprising that people over the age of 55 are less likely to say rarely or never. 44% of those over 55 answered every day or most days.

So what does all of this point to? The people who are interested in local news are watching on their televisions and not live streaming. The core news watchers are aging, and the younger generation is not likely to be more interested in watching local news simply because it is being live streamed. According to our research, 13% of people under the age of 35 said they watch local news on a daily basis, 14% view videos on local news sites and only 6% responded they live stream local newscasts daily. Local news stations may need to begin rethinking what a news broadcast looks like. In order to engage more with this younger audience, perhaps they will need to provide short “live news videos” throughout the day and push them out via social media channels, like Twitter Moments. One thing is clear, taking a product that people don’t ordinarily consume and putting it on a “new” platform does not create an appetite for it … you need to change the menu.