Television remains the number one source of news in most markets
Television and online remain the most popular ways of accessing news on a weekly basis. Amongst our sample, television is ahead in Germany and France, with online winning in many other countries. Given that this is an online survey and thus will underrepresent traditional users who are not online, it is probably the case that TV news is still ahead everywhere except for the United States and possibly Denmark, Finland, and Australia.
Sources of news by country
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|Online (inc. social media)||73%||60%||86%||81%||71%||85%||90%||74%||91%||70%||83%||85%|
Base: Total sample in each country.
The strength of traditional platforms across many countries is also well illustrated by these data and reflects both investment in programming and some deep cultural habits that are proving hard to shift.
Though television remains the most regularly accessed type of news, this is not the case for all. Indeed every year in our data we see a significant generational split, with young people expressing an overwhelming preference for online news.
Main source of news by age – young prefer online – all countries
Not only do young people prefer online, our data show that a significant proportion are abandoning television news completely. Some of the biggest falls have been in the United States, France, and Denmark – particularly with under 35s. Only a quarter (24%) watch TV news bulletins or programmes in the US compared with 37% two years ago. This is in sharp contrast to Germany where 58% of under 35s still watch bulletins or programmes weekly.
Television news bulletin use – under 35s
Base: Under 35s 2013/2015 UK=555/486, US=453/538, France=276/353, Germany=274/452, Denmark=294/568
The rise of social media as a source of news
Within online, we have also seen a sharp rise in the growth of social media in the past year as a source of news. Some of the biggest increases have come in the US, UK, Brazil, and Denmark.
Social media as a source of news – all countries
To understand better the value created by these different sources of news, we asked in more detail about a number of dimensions – including speed, serendipity, and accuracy – for each platform in the UK, US, France, Germany, Spain, and Ireland.
In terms of the averages, we find that television news is most valued across the board. Online news websites and social media are valued more for serendipity (alerting audience to stories they didn’t know about). Social media are considered least reliable.
The value of different platforms for news – six countries
We see a very different story, however if we look at the under 35s. Here online is considered best on all dimensions, while social media is considered particularly valuable for alerting people to stories they didn’t know about. Interestingly, though, even this group of young people is highly distrustful of the accuracy of information in social media when compared with reputable brands online or on TV.