Analyzing the habits of news consumers, the study examined the most popular social media sites in relation to how often people consumed news on them.
While YouTube’s video elements and emphasis on citizen journalism may suggest that it’s a leading news source, the study found that it ranks as the sixth-highest source among the 11 social media sites.
Topping the list was Reddit, which 62% of social media users go to first to discover news. Twitter came in second with 52%, while Facebook landed in third place with 47%. YouTube sat below Tumblr (29%) and above Myspace (14%) with an even 20%.
Furthermore, the study measured the number of US adults who visit a site versus how many are actually consuming news at the same time. In the case of Facebook, 64% of US adults visit the site while 30% get their news from it as well. YouTube’s numbers were slightly less prominent. According to the study, of the 51% of adults who visit YouTube, only 10% consume news on it.
For many, YouTube is not the first social media site for news, as breaking stories are better conveyed over microblogging sites like Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook. However, we see an increase in YouTube news consumption during natural disasters and major events as people seek commentary or eye-witness footage.
The 2013 Pew study confirms that the public often visits YouTube to supplement news only after viewing it elsewhere.
Per the study: “YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google Plus news consumers are more likely than Facebook and Twitter news consumers to watch cable news.”
The study shows that 43% of US adults who receive their news via local TV also visit YouTube for content. Although YouTube isn’t the first source for breaking news, it seems to be a powerful tool in supplementing and expanding the depth of coverage.