A new Harris Poll survey shows that television is the top source for news among US citizens, beating out #2 online 25%-18%, but the same group of citizens expects that this pecking order will flip within five years, when online will be on top with 26% to television's 22%. Cable is expected to show a modest 14%-15% increase over the same period, with a slight 12%-11% drop-off for radio and 12%-10% drop-off for major daily newspapers.
Harris looked at six other countries, including Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Australia. Great Britain is the stronghold for television at 36%, and will remain there with a slight decrease to 33%. For radio, France edges Germany right now 20% to 18%, but Germany will be on top according to projections, 17% to 16%. Dailies are strongest in Spain and Germany, tied at 13%, with Germany hanging on to the top slot by itself in five years at 12%.
SmartMedia observation: Online certainly has its place and as an exceptionably viable new kid on the block it will drain share from all older media, just as cable did before it. Still, each major media has its own strengths. It's encouraging to see that there is still a strong place in the immediate future for newspaper (we still us it, even if we're in the minority). We use multiple sources ourselves, like most consumers of news, so even if online becomes #1 at some point, that doesn't mean others will lose all their value and disappear.