14 things you need to know about multiplatform news consumption habits

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Consumer Media, Digital Media, Mobile, Newspapers

14 things you need to know about multiplatform news consumption habits

The Reuters Digital News survey is a treasure trove of useful research on news consumption. We suggest you read the whole thing, but if you haven't got the time, check out report author Nic Newman's article for us today and here's our roundup of 14 key takeaways on how news consumption is changing:

1. Are you reaching the 10 million 'News Lovers'?

There are an estimated 10 million people in the UK whom the report describes as "news lovers". This group consume news heavily online, tend to be wealthier, are more likely to own a tablet or smartphone and use Twitter twice as much as the average. They are also more interested in politics and international news, more likely to read a "quality" newspaper and are twice as likely to have paid for digital news in the last week, in contrast to "daily briefers":

Reuters Institute Digital News 2013 News Lovers

2. Tablet consumption has doubled in less than 12 months

Tablet consumption of news has doubled in the UK and Germany between the end of 2011 and 2012, and has risen almost as fast in the US, Denmark, France and Denmark. The UK has caught up with the US, with 16 percent of those surveyed saying they consume news on a tablet, but both markets are still way behind Denmark, where 25 percent say they do so. 

3. Multi-device consumers consume more media

A third of those surveyed across all markets consume news on more than one device. Both the institute and other researchers have found that multi-device news consumers consume more news in aggregate. 

4. Country variation in strength of traditional brands

Traditional broadcast brands and newspaper brands are strongest in the UK and Denmark - with 35 percent of those surveyed in the UK saying they had used a newspaper brand for news in the last week and 54 percent of those in Denmark. In contrast, newer brands such as Yahoo! are stronger in the US, Brazil and Japan, and social media is strong in Brazil and the US. 

5. Old people like TV, young people like the internet

Young people prefer to use online as their main source of news, older people prefer TV. 

Reuters Institute Digital News 2013 Online vs TV main

6. People don't notice what website they're looking at

In the UK, 16 percent of people don't notice which websites they are getting their news from, but that's actually better than many of the other countries surveyed. In Japan for instance 44 percent say they don't notice. Paradoxically, however, many people say they prefer to get their news from trusted sources - 77 percent in the UK and a whopping 90 percent in Brazil. 

7. People in the UK read news a lot, but many aren't passionate about it

In the UK, 86 percent say they read news every day, but a third say they aren't very interested in news. That's a lot of regular readers, but a lot who aren't very engaged. How can you squeeze more money out of apathetic readers?  

In contrast, while in the US only 76 percent say they consume news everyday - the lowest in any of the countries surveyed - only 29 percent say they aren't very interested.

8. Only 1/4 of UK consumers rely on traditional news sources and nothing else

In the UK, 25 percent say traditional media, including TV and print, is their only source of news, and 20 percent say these channels are their main source. That may sound like a lot, but most media companies are reliant on traditional channels for a lot more than 45 percent of their revenue.

Japan, Brazil and the US had the highest proportions of people saying they got their news mainly or only online.

9. Age dictates which platforms are more popular

Reuters Institute Digital News 2013 Age by platform

10. Regional news more important to older readers

-- In the UK, 25 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds consider news about their region one of the most important to them, but this rises steadily across age groups to reach 43 percent in those over 55.

-- At the same time, just 30 percent of those consuming news only via online channels considered regional news one of their most important areas, while 43 percent of those only using traditional media thought so. 

11. UK consumers prefer brands as gateways to news

Branded content from news providers was the most important gateway to news for 35 percent of those surveyed in the UK, compared to 17 percent for both social media and aggregators. Just 24 percent say search is the most important - far lower than in any of the other countries surveyed. 

In Germany on the other hand, 50 percent say social media is the most important gateway, and in Japan 44 percent say aggregators are the most important.

12. UK consumers much more interested in politics and international news than entertainment

Reuters Institute digital news 2013 entertainment vs pol and international

13. Big variation in sharing and commenting on news on social media

Just 10 percent of those from the UK surveyed said they had shared or participated in news stories on social media in the last week, but that was higher than in Germany and Japan, and the same as in France. In contrast, 21 percent in the US said they did so, rising to 38 percent in Brazil.

14. Consumption peaks are more marked among older people

Though all news consumption shows peaks in the morning and the evening - the effect is less pronounced among younger audiences - suggesting more sustained consumption throughout the day. 

Reuters Institute news consumption 2013 throughout the day

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