News Websites Score Record Satisfaction Amid Election Cycle

Americans are happier than ever before with online news channels as a raucous presidential election cycle keeps readers coming back for more. While internet news and opinion shows only modest fluctuations over time, the year 2016 proves record-breaking for this e-business category, with user satisfaction springing upward 4.1% to 76 on a scale of 0 to 100. People are fascinated with the news right now, and the bump in satisfaction is reflecting greater interest in opinion pieces and updates from readers’ favorite sites.

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Satisfaction improves nearly across the board for news websites, regardless of political leaning, although the biggest gain goes to the group of smaller websites, up 7% to 77. This group encompasses a wide variety of outlets—from BuzzFeed and Drudge Report to the online presence of The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. FOXNews.com retains its lead with an 4% boost to 79. Meanwhile, The Huffington Post, part of Verizon Communications’ AOL subsidiary, can’t shake last place despite a 1% gain to 72—a new high for the website.

In today’s 24-hour news cycle, the internet is the ideal vehicle for delivering content quickly and in a steady stream, and digital news sites are upping their game. Consumers of online news give the industry a high score for freshness of content (80). Key elements such as ease of navigation and information variety are up 4% from a year ago. The exception—consistent across all e-business categories—is amount of advertising, which rates quite low at 68, down 4% over the past year.