California Wildfire Study

Local TV News Tops for California Wildfire Information

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As of November 1st, 2019, two wildfires have caused substantial damage and created chaos in Northern and Southern California. The Getty and Kincaid fires burned independently, with the former covering 745 acres in the LA area and the latter over 75,000 acres in Sonoma County. Unpredictable winds and potential blackouts forced residents up the West Coast to prepare evacuation plans to avoid potential catastrophe.

TVB engaged Dynata to survey media usage related to the Getty and Kincade wildfires as it threatened Los Angeles and San Francisco, respectively. The analysis revealed that local broadcast TV news was overwhelmingly preferred as the go-to source for coverage of the wildfires over all other news sources.

Among the highlights:

  • News Sources: 79% of respondents used local TV news for information about the California wildfires as compared to the second highest radio at 47%.
  • Time Spent: At 2 hours and 35 minutes, respondents spent more time with local television than any other source, more than twice than the time spent with radio, the 2nd highest platform.
  • Information Source for Wildfire Preparation: 62% of respondents chose local TV for information when preparing to face emergency situations.
  • Trust: Local TV news assets were the most trusted source for coverage and information. 90% of respondents agreed that local TV news was the most trusted, while local TV news websites and apps were also a trusted source at 81%. Social media was the lowest at 58%.
  • Why local TV assets?
    • The top reason cited for watching local TV news was that respondents wanted information that pertained to their area.
    • The top reason for using local TV news websites and apps was that they trust the news from their station’s website/app.

Source: Dynata California Wildfire Survey. 10/29/19-11/4/19 Adults 18+.

Source: Dynata California Wildfire Survey. 10/29/19-11/4/19 Adults 18+. Time Spent between 5 a.m. and 1 a.m.

For more information, please contact Hadassa Gerber EVP, Chief Research Officer, TVB.