Key political events, particularly the presidency of Donald Trump, have lifted news consumption across the political spectrum in 2017. Comparing the two months before and two months after Donald Trump’s inauguration, we see an increase in audience size across the top 10 news publications on the conservative and liberal end (except for The BBC and The Drudge Report, which dipped slightly).
In general, online newsreaders tend to be more mixed than offline audiences. For example, people who associate with liberal politics are not likely to purchase The Weekly Standard magazine or watch Fox and Friends, but might still read online news from a range of right and left sources. This audience crossover appears to have intensified since Donald Trump stepped into office.
Since the inauguration, the three largest news publications (which pull both left and right audiences) have received the greatest traffic increase from young, liberal readers. Interestingly, Fox News experienced the most growth in young and liberal visitors when compared to NY Times and CNN:
Beyond Fox news, the increase in liberal readership amongst right-leaning publications seems to intensify for more conservative publications. For example, alt-right publication Breitbart saw roughly twice as much growth in young and progressive segments compared to major news outlets. They have also seen a 25% jump in shared readership with Buzzfeed and 17% increase in readers from the Huffington Post.
Whether or not this shift is driven by sheer curiosity, it shows that progressive Millennials are deeply invested in exposing themselves to content across the political spectrum.
What does this mean for publishers? The composition of your online audience will likely continue shifting in the coming years, especially with the volatility of the current political environment. Keep track of your own audience as well as your audience crossover with competitors. Keep and eye on what content different audiences are consuming, in order to adjust your content strategy and attract new segments.
This blog post is excerpted from our News in 2017 Report, which explores key insights & trends publishers can use to grow their audience in the current climate:
Methodology: Data collected using Hitwise Intelligence. Measures relative difference in audience size and audience profiles of the top ten News & Media publications two months before and two months after January 20th, 2017.