Mainstream Media Still Dominate Online News
Traditional media organisations remain the dominant source of online news in the UK according to a new report, which discovered only 7 per cent of British people pay for digital news content.
More than half of those polled said they followed the news through an established brand, with just 16 per cent using digital-only sites, such as Buzzfeed and Huffington Post.
However, new media companies were found to be very popular in the US and Japan.
The study also found that just over one in ten people paid for online news content in the past year.
The research, carried out by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University, is based on a YouGov survey of more than 18,000 people across 10 countries.
Consumers in the US, UK, Germany, France, Denmark, Finland, Spain, Italy, Japan and urban Brazil were questioned about their news habits.
Just 7 per cent of those polled in the UK said they paid for news in the past year – the lowest of all 10 countries – and only 7 per cent said they would be prepared to pay in the future.
“There is a limited pool of people who are sufficiently interested in news to pay for it when there are free alternatives,” said Nic Newman, one of the report’s editors.
The top subscription sites in the UK were the Times, Telegraph and Sun newspapers.
The number of people using smartphones or tablets to access news grew significantly, while desktop use dropped, but computers still account for well over half of all browsing.
However, the report found the rise of smartphone use has led to people consuming fewer news sources, with 37 per cent of those polled across all countries saying they accessed just one news brand on their handset.
In the UK, 55 per cent said the same.
“People are short of time on a smartphone,” said Mr Newman.
“They come back to the source they rely on most.”
Facebook remains the dominant force in the social media sector, with 35 per cent of those polled across all countries saying they use the site to access news content.
“Digital and social media seem to be encouraging journalism with a human face,” said Mr Newman.
The report also highlighted the role of Twitter in the UK in bringing readers to news sources. Almost half of all Twitter users in the UK follow at least one journalist. The most influential UK journalists on Twitter were:
- Caitlin Moran (the Times)
- Jon Snow (Channel 4)
- Victoria Coren Mitchell (the Observer, the Guardian)
- Robert Peston (BBC)
- Nick Robinson (BBC)