The fate of the nation’s traditional news sources, specifically newspapers and TV news programs, may lie in the hands, eyes and pocketbooks of America’s well-connected, growing network of women age 50-plus. A recent survey by VibrantNation.com among its more than 20,000 members, shows that while Boomer women are now utilizing the Internet as their core news source they remain heavy consumers of “traditional” media outlets with nearly 70% of respondents citing a combination of newspapers, TV, radio and magazines among their primary sources of news.   With statistics showing that women 50+ are spending more money compared to any other demographic — and more time online than teenagers — understanding this often overlooked yet powerful, advertiser-friendly block of consumers could be key to the survival of “traditional” media such as newspapers and TV news programs. Among these “Vibrant Women,” as dubbed by VibrantNation.com, the survey findings uncovered that:

  • Online News Leads the Way: 28% of women 50+ depend on the Internet as their primary news source. Of those who turn to the Web for news, 29% use their Web service homepage (Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc.), 25% log-on to newspaper websites (NYTimes.com, WSJ.com, local newspaper sites, etc.), 25% read news blogs and specialty online news sources (HuffingtonPost.com, Politico.com, DrudgeReport.com, Weather.com, etc.), and 16% rely on online news sites of broadcast media outlets (CNN.com, ABCNews.com, CBSNews.com, etc.).
  • “Traditional” Media Still Plays a Central Role: While garnering smaller percentages than the Web on an individual basis, when combined 70% of respondents cite multiple “traditional” print and broadcast media as their primary news source — TV news programs (23%), newspapers (21%), radio (15%) and magazines (11%).
  • Local, Local, Local: Of those who turn to the print edition of newspapers, 61% of women 50+ rely on their local daily or weekly paper as their primary news source, while only 22% turn to a national paper such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal or USA Today. Regarding television, 29% of those who get their news via the TV turn to local news coverage, while 23% tune in to network news programming. Nearly 14% of respondents tune to local radio for their news.
  • Mobile Boomer Women: While still small in comparison to other categories, 2% of Boomer women who responded cited their cell phone, BlackBerry or iPhone as their primary news source.

“Demographic and economic attributes make the value of this vibrant demographic undeniable,” said VibrantNation.com founder and CEO Stephen Reily. “Boomer women have their eyes, ears, hearts and minds everywhere and are tapping into advances in technology, while holding onto their trusted, reliable sources for news and information. They are not only an audience to be reckoned with, but may well be THE group of consumers who can bridge the generation gap for media companies and marketers.”

“Vibrant Women like myself are constantly looking for reliable sources of news and information, delivered in a context that recognizes our voice in society,” said  Carol Orsborn, Ph.D.,  senior srategist, VibrantNation.com. “We’ll log-on to the web, we’ll turn to traditional media that has proven valuable to us throughout our lives, and we’ll develop our own peer-to-peer networks like VibrantNation.com. These survey results are another example of the power and influence of the Boomer women who comprise our Vibrant Nation.”

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