Pew Journalism Project Study: Cable News Proves Most 'Engaging'

Broadcast has greatest percentage of news viewers, but they don't stick around as long

Broadcast news continues to draw a crowd, but cable news captures more of its audience's time.

That was one of the key takeaways from a new Pew Research Center Journalism Project report based on exclusive  Nielsen data about in-home news viewing supplied to the project.

"You get a level of engagement and time spent with cable that you just don't see with the others, said Mark Jurkowitz, associate director of the project.

For overall news viewing at home--for the minimum threshhold, defined as watching at least 6 consecutive minutes a month--broadcasting is clearly dominant: 71% watch some local TV news and 65% watch network TV news, while only 38% watch cable. "But what is more interesting, " says Jurkowitz, "is how much time they spend daily with each one of those platforms. What becomes extremely clear is that although not as many people watch [cable news] those that do are much more engaged in terms of the time they spend on average."

On average, people watch about 12 minutes a day of TV news, he says, and about 12 minutes a day watching network TV news, but 25 minutes a day watching cable news.

The heaviest "users" of local TV news watch about 22 minutes a day--or about a half hour newscast's worth minus commercials. The heaviest network TV news watchers--morning and evening newscasts--watch 32 minutes a day, while cable's heaviest viewers watch 72 minutes a day.

The study is based on Nielsen data based on Peoplemeter data from approximately 20,00 homes and 50,000 viewers.