A survey of plugged-in Canadians suggests most value their Internet access over their TV, cellphone and newspaper subscriptions.
And if they could keep just one service, they’d stay online.
The Canadian Media Research Consortium, based out of the University of British Columbia, commissioned the online survey and found 42 per cent of respondents said the Internet would be the last service they’d cut. Twenty four per cent said they’d keep their cable TV and 17 per cent each would keep their cellphone service or newspaper subscription.
The results, released Tuesday, are part of a larger survey conducted last August to gauge how Canadians are getting their news and information, said consortium spokesman Darryl Korell.
“What we were trying to do was find out going forward how Canadians want to consume news, because there are many new business models that people are trying to come up with to find out how we’re going to be able to afford to provide the journalism that we need,” Korell said.
About 38 per cent said they preferred getting their news and information from TV, 30 per cent turned to their computers and 23 per cent chose newspapers.
But when asked which medium provided news and information that was most interesting to them, 52 per cent said the Internet was the best source.
“Taken together, these data show that a preference for online media is clearly developing among Canadians,” the consortium’s report states.
“No matter if they choose to provide audio, visual or text-based news formats, news and information providers that fail to focus on providing content for computers, tablets, and smartphones will be left behind.”
The younger demographic surveyed, respondents aged 18 to 34, were especially hooked on online content. About 77 per cent said the most interesting news came from the web and only seven per cent said their best reads were in print newspapers.
“That really just encapsulates the reach of the Internet today,” Korell said.
“Going forward, once this generation, the millennials, grow older we’re really going to see how important it is for all media — whether that be television, radio, or print news — to move towards online platforms.”
The online survey was conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion from Aug. 26-30 last year and included 1,682 adults.
The report does acknowledge that because the pollsters did not interact with Canadians who don’t use the web, a similar telephone-based poll might have “somewhat lower” levels of support for the Internet.