As last year we have created a number of segmentations to help us interpret the results. These give us a non-overlapping categorisation of the online news universe that we can apply across all of our countries.
Traditionalists vs Mainly Digital
Our first segmentation categorises respondents into those who exhibit traditional approaches (mainly TV, radio, and print) and those who are mainly digital in the way they consume the news. We also identify a sizeable group who are platform agnostic. They actively consume news across traditional and online platforms (see the table).
Segmentation by sources and devices
We classify Traditional users as those who consume more offline sources than online when we ask about specific newspaper, TV, radio, and online brands. (Q5a/b. Which, if any, of the following have you used to access news in the last week? Via TV, radio, or print/via online platforms?) Mainly Digital users are those who consume more online sources than offline. To pick up anomalies we then further adjust these segments based on the number of digital devices used for news each week. Half & Half users who use more than two digital devices per week for news go into mainly digital segment and any traditionalists who use more than two devices for digital news go into the Half & Half category.
Looking at the results of these segmentations by country we find that France and Germany still have the largest percentage of our online sample accessing news in mainly traditional ways. A large percentage of these (around three in ten) ONLY access news via TV, radio, or print – even though they are active online in other ways.
All other countries in our survey have a majority of mainly digital (online) news usage, though the UK also has a large traditional segment (32%).
Traditional users vs mainly digital users – all countries
We need to be careful in interpreting these results. The Urban Brazil sample is a much younger group and will not be representative of the national picture. Italy and Spain also have lower internet penetration so these data will significantly underrepresent traditional media use.
But it is striking how different the patterns are – even in countries with very similar levels of internet penetration such as Finland and Japan. A number of large countries are taking longer to adopt digital news use and we also find that within those countries there are particular groups that prefer traditional platforms.
Comparing Finland and Germany we see very different patterns based on age. In Finland online news or multiplatform news sweep through all age groups. Only a proportion of over 55s are holding out – but the majority of them use a range of platforms. By contrast, in Germany a significant proportion of all groups over 25 are sticking to traditional patterns. The overall appeal of online news is much lower – despite high internet use in general.
Traditional/online split by age – Finland
Traditional/online split by age – Germany
These differences could be to do with a number of factors including digital literacy and the willingness (or not) of big media companies to embrace and promote online at the expense of their traditional businesses.
News Lovers, Daily Briefers, and Casual Users
Our second segment is based on a mix of frequency and interest in the news. The conceptual framework for our segmentation is set out in the next chart.
We’ll refer back to these groupings throughout this study, but as we shall see, some of these groups play more important roles than others in driving the new interactive news ecosystem. News Lovers consume more, share more, are better educated, and are twice as likely to pay for online news.
France has the highest proportion of Casual Users (44%), which reflects a self-declared low interest in news. Urban Brazil (28%) and Italy (26%) have the highest proportion of News Lovers, while Spain and Finland (58%) have the highest proportion of Daily Briefers.
Frequency of access
A key component of the News Lover category is frequency of access. Here we asked users about how often they accessed news on any platform.
Frequency of access by country
Around a quarter of those in Finland (27%) and Japan (23%) said they accessed the news more than five times a day. That’s more than twice as often as users in Spain, France, and Germany who said they were most likely to check on news between one and five times each day. The idea of daily briefing seems more established in these countries where the evening television bulletin remains a key source of news. The US and Australia have the highest proportion checking in less than once a day (several times a week or less).
Across all our countries, 20% of men access more than five times a day, compared with just 10% of women. Increased frequency of access is strongly correlated with the growth of online, with mainly digital users almost three times as likely as traditionalists to access the news more than five times a day. Increased frequency also seem to be related to the growth of new devices – such as mobiles and tablets – which are extending the range of access points. The more devices we have, the more frequently we consume (see the next chart).
Online drives greater frequency of use
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More devices you use, the more often you access news
|Device||More than five times|
|ALL News users||15%|
|Tablet and smartphone||25%|