July 23, 2021

Reference: Reuters Institute Publishes “Digital News Report 2016” (Global)

Digital News Report 2016 is published by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (U. of Oxford).

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From the Digital News Report Web Site:

This year’s report reveals new insights about digital news consumption based on a YouGov survey of over 50,000 online news consumers in 26 countries including the US and UK.

The report suggests that publishers across the world are facing unprecedented levels of disruption to business models and formats from a combination of the rise of social platforms, the move to mobile and growing consumer rejection of online advertising.

From the Foreword of the Report:

This is our fifth annual report that explores the changing environment around news across countries. The report is based on a survey of more than 50,000 people in 26 countries, which makes it the largest ongoing comparative study of news consumption in the world and twice as big as last year. A key focus is in Europe where we have done the bulk of our polling – but we are delighted to have added Canada and South Korea this year to the United States, Australia, Brazil, and Japan, which have been part of our survey for some time.

We continue to make efforts to open up as much of the data as possible via our website. This contains slidepacks, charts and raw data tables, along with a licence that encourages reuse, subject to attribution to the Reuters Institute. Also this year, we have updated our interactive feature, which allows anyone to explore and visualise the data by themselves by country and over time.

Key Findings

  • Across our entire sample, half (51%) say they use social media as a source of news each week. Around one in ten (12%) say it is their main source. Facebook is by far the most important network for finding, reading/watching, and sharing news.
  • Social media are significantly more important for women (who are also less likely to go directly to a news website or app) and for the young. More than a quarter of 18–24s say social media (28%) are their main source of news – more than television (24%) for the first time.
  • The growth of news accessed and increasingly consumed via social networks, portals and mobile apps means that the originating news brand gets clearly noticed less than half the time in the UK, and Canada. In countries like Japan and South Korea, where aggregated and distributed news is already more widespread, the brand only gets noticed around a quarter of the time when accessed through news portals.
  • Television news still remains most important for older groups but overall usage has continued to decline, particularly for ‘appointment to view’ bulletins and amongst younger groups. In terms of devices, smartphone usage for news is sharply up, reaching half of our global sample (53%), while computer use is falling and tablet growth is flattening out.
  • Most consumers are still reluctant to pay for general news online, particularly in the highly competitive English-speaking world (9% average), but in some smaller countries, protected by language, people are twice as likely to pay.
  • Business problems for many publishers have worsened with the rise of ad-blocking, which is running at between 10% (Japan) and 38% (Poland) but much higher amongst under-35s and people who use news the most. The vast majority of those who have ever downloaded a blocker are using them regularly, suggesting that once downloaded people rarely go back.
  • Only around 8% of smartphone users currently use an ad-blocker but around a third of respondents say they plan to install one on their mobile in the next year.
  • Although publishers and technology platforms are pushing online news video hard for commercial reasons, we find evidence that most consumers are still resistant. Three-quarters of respondents (78%) say they still mostly rely on text. When pressed, the main reasons people give for not using more video are that they find reading news quicker and more convenient (41%) and the annoyance of pre-roll advertisements (35%).
  • Trust in news is highest in Finland (65%) and lowest in Greece (20%). Almost everywhere, editors and journalists are trusted less than news organisations.
  • We find strong concerns that personalised news and more algorithmic selection of news will mean missing out on important information or challenging viewpoints. Having said that, we find that young people are more comfortable with algorithms than with editors.
  • Media companies that have nailed their colours to a distributed future like BuzzFeed are gaining ground in terms of reach. But these new brands and platforms are mostly used as secondary sources and for softer news subjects.Main usage online remains with brands that have a strong news heritage and have been able to build up a reputation over time.

Resources

Direct to Report (HTML)

Direct to Full Text Report (124 pages; PDF)

Direct to Interactive Data Tools

Direct to Resources and Charts From Report

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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