Donald Graham shook up the newspaper world last week when he agreed to sell The Washington Post to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. But based on the results of a new survey by the Pew Center for the People and the Press, he was probably right—if not a little late to do so.
The survey revealed that for the first time, the Internet is now the main source of news for people under the age of 50. The previous survey, in 2011, showed that the Internet had become the major source of news for 65% of those between the ages of 18 and 29, but that 61% of those in the 30-49 age range still mainly relied on television for their news.
While 71% of the 18-29 age group cite the Internet as a main news source, 63% of the 30-49 age group cited the Internet, an increase of 13 points since the 2011 survey, putting it into a tie with television as their main news source. Each respondent was allowed to name two news sources.
Newspapers took the biggest hit, dropping in every age range surveyed except for those 65 and over, where 54% still relied on the printed page for news.
This trend shouldn’t be all that surprising given the rapid growth of the Internet, and social media in particular, which younger people are using more and more to get their news, as they bypass more traditional sources of news.
Donald Graham knew the future of the newspaper business was bleak and Jeff Bezos gave him a chance to cash out while he still could. Not every newspaper company will be so lucky.