Frequency of News Access and Consumption

Our survey of online users shows significant differences in how frequently news is accessed by consumers in different countries across all platforms – TV, radio and online. Around 9 in 10 Germans access the news at least once a day compared with only 3 in 4 people in the United Kingdom.

Daily news access by country

Q1c Typically, how often do you access news? By news we mean UK, international, national, regional/local news and other topical events accessed via radio, TV, newspaper or online.

Base All UK (n=2173) Denmark (n=1002) France (n=1011) Germany (n=970) USA (n=814)

In general, daily news consumption is significantly higher amongst males in all of our surveyed countries. Daily news consumption is particularly low amongst women in the UK at just 67% – that’s almost 20 percentage points behind the interest shown by women in Germany.

Daily news access by gender

Germany Denmark USA France UK
Male 91% 92% 86% 81% 84%
Female 88% 83% 78% 74% 67%

Age is also a factor in how regularly people keep up with news. Young people in Germany (83%) and the UK (73%) are most likely to check in once a day or more whereas those in France and Denmark are least interested in keeping up (65% and 63% respectively).

In general, interest in news tends to be highest amongst the middle aged and older generations. In Denmark and the USA older people are highly engaged (96% and 87%).

Daily news access by age

Drilling down on the UK figures in particular we can also see that there are significant regional differences in daily consumption. People living in Northern Ireland are most likely to look at news several times a day (62%) – no doubt driven by the long running and continuing concerns about the political and security situation. Those in the North of England seem more comfortable with catching up once a day (33%) or even less frequently than that.

Daily news access by UK region

Average London South East Midlands North Wales Scotland N Ireland
Several times/day 43% 52% 45% 40% 48% 41% 54% 44% 62%
Once/day 29% 27% 28% 28% 28% 33% 30% 31% 22%

Overall there is little difference between TV, radio and computer in terms of frequency of access but the emergence of new personal and portable devices such as smartphones and tablets seem to be encouraging more regular checking in with news.

UK Daily news access by device

Q1c Typically, how often do you access news? By news we mean UK, international, national, regional/local news and other topical events accessed via radio, TV, newspaper or online.Base UK (n=2173) Note – Relates to those who have accessed via these devices in last week

UK news segmentation

News use is not just about frequency, it is also about the volume of consumption. For this study, we have combined the answers to a number of questions to come up with ways of identifying the levels of attention and consumption.

Categorisation of online news users*

Categorisation of online news users

News absorbed
Tends to Male 25-34
Likes International, political news
Tablet owning (30%)
Twitter using (44%)
3-4x more likely to pay
Might like Sky, FT, C4 News
News mainstreamers
All ages
Might like BBC, Mail Online, Yahoo
News light
Tends to female 21-34
Celebrity news – 31%
Use 1 news source – 43%
Facebook using (67%)
Might like Sun, MSN, C5
*These percentages relate to our sample of online users who say they are interested in news. Assuming 50m UK adults, 77% internet use and 18% saying they are not interested in news this suggests raw numbers as follows: News absorbed (2.2m), News mainstream (22m), News light (6.9m).

  • News absorbed: These are people who access the news several times a day and who say they consume in total more than three hours of news each day. This accounts for around 7% of our sample of internet news users.
  • News mainstreamers: These are people who generally check in at least once a day and who say they consume between 30 minutes and three hours a day or who check in once a day but consume more than three hours a day. This group accounts for around 70% of our sample.
  • News light: These are people who consume less than 30 minutes a day on average and access once a day or less often. This group makes up around 22% of the sample.

We’ll refer back to these groupings throughout this study, but in general we can see there is a small, mainly male, well-educated, and engaged group of news users that likes to participate in news, that uses a variety of online devices to access the news, and might be prepared to pay for the privilege. There is a slightly larger group of infrequent, disengaged users and then the vast majority are somewhere in the middle – still mainly using television and radio for news but regularly supplementing with online sources.