A Pew Research study confirms that YouTube has become a major platform for watching news, which for the mainstream news industry poses “a significant opportunity and also a challenge.”
News producers can use the site to grow their audience, find citizen-created videos, build their brand and generate revenue. At the same time, video-sharing sites are yet another platform they must understand — and to which they must adapt.
Key findings of Pew’s study:
* The most popular news videos tended to depict natural disasters or political upheaval-usually featuring intense visuals.
* News events are inherently more ephemeral than other kinds of information, but at any given moment news can outpace even the biggest entertainment videos.
* Citizens play a substantial role in supplying and producing footage.
* Citizens are also responsible for posting a good deal of the videos originally produced by news outlets.
* The most popular news videos are a mix of edited and raw footage.
The report points out that viewership for TV news still easily outpaces those consuming news on YouTube — 22 million people on average still watch the evening news — but fast-growing YouTube is now the third most visited destination online, behind only Google and Facebook.