Segmentation Approaches

We have combined these metrics of frequency and interest to give us a first non-overlapping categorisation of the news universe that we can apply across all of our countries.

  • News Lovers: These are people who access the news several times a day and say they are extremely interested in the news.
  • Daily Briefers: These are people who also access the news several times a day but they say they are a bit less interested (very or somewhat) in the news.
  • Casual Users: These are people who consume less frequently – anything between once a day to once a month – and they also tend to be less interested in the news with a majority only somewhat interested in news.
  • Non Users: The people who excluded themselves from the survey who say they access news less often than once a month (depending on the country, this was between 2% in Japan, Denmark, and Brazil, 7% in the United States, and 9% in the UK).

We’ll refer back to these groupings throughout this study, but as we shall see, identifying and understanding the different habits of these groups will be important for news organisations. News Lovers consume more, share more, are wealthier, and are more likely to pay for news, but Daily Briefers are important in reaching mass audiences, which remains important for advertisers. The majority of consumers across countries can be considered ‘Daily Briefers’. The US has the highest proportion of Casual Users, but also a high proportion of News Lovers. Denmark has both the highest proportion of News Lovers and the lowest share of Casual Users, along with Brazil.

News interest segmentation by country

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  UK Ger Spa Ita Fra Den US Bra Jap
News Lovers 22% 22% 17% 24% 17% 27% 26% 25% 21%
Daily Briefers 51% 55% 56% 51% 58% 55% 41% 58% 63%
Casual Users 28% 24% 26% 26% 26% 18% 33% 18% 16%

UK example

Within a country like United the Kingdom, we can roughly map these groups to get a sense of the total size of each group. Assuming 50m UK adults over 18, internet penetration of 84%, and 9% non-news users, this would produce the addressable groups shown in Figure 1.2b.

UK online users segmented by level interest and frequency of access

Indicative base of 50m UK adults, 84% internet access and 9% of them not accessing news (not interested) in the last month

  • News Lovers: Are much more likely to own a smartphone and tablet, they are twice as likely to use Twitter for news as the average. They tend to be male (57%) and have higher incomes and social grade (heavy skew to AB). They are particularly interested in politics and international news but only show an average interest in entertainment and celebrity news. They are heavy online users but are twice as likely to use quality ‘broadsheet’ printed newspapers along with the BBC and Sky News for television news. They are twice as likely to have paid for a digital news service in the last week as Daily Briefers.
  • Casual Users: Tend to be female (60%) and more traditional in their media habits. They seem to be particularly attached to print, especially mid-market and popular newspapers and magazines. A significant minority of this group use only traditional media sources (31%). They are particularly uninterested by international and political news. They tend to have lower incomes and be from lower social grades (C2DE). Many own smartphones and tablets but are less likely to use them for news than the other groups.

Platform segmentation

In a second categorisation, we have split our samples by platform use. This non-overlapping segmentation is achieved by looking at the number and type of devices used to access news (see Figure 1.2c).

Audience segments by platform used to access news

These segments were cross-checked this with claimed time spent (where data was available in the UK) to ensure this approach was robust.

When applying this to all our countries we can see that many European countries tend to have a stronger attachment to traditional methods than say the United States, Brazil, and Japan.

Despite this being an online sample, one in three of both the French and Germans – and one in four in the UK – say they have only used traditional ways of accessing news in the last week. In both countries over 55% of our sample is using traditional only or mainly traditional news consumption (compared with 35% in the US and 29% in Japan). The Japanese and our sample from urban Brazil are leading the charge for mainly online and exclusively online news habits.

Segments based on platform preference (by country)

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  UK Ger Spa Ita Fra Den US Bra Jap
Internet penetration 84% 83% 67% 58% 80% 90% 78% 46% 80%
Online only* 8% 6% 9% 11% 6% 6% 11% 11% 13%
Mainly online 7% 5% 10% 11% 6% 9% 14% 18% 10%
Half half** 39% 31% 38% 40% 33% 39% 40% 48% 48%
Mainly traditional 20% 25% 22% 20% 24% 28% 12% 15% 16%
Traditional only*** 25% 33% 20% 19% 32% 18% 23% 9% 13%

* Online only: This is a smaller segment and a slightly schizophrenic one. They include some heavy news users but also a large number who are not particularly interested in news at all. This segment has a relatively high proportion of 18-24s.

** The half and half segment contains the secondary group of heavy multi-channel users. This sub-group makes up around 10% of the total sample and its members combine multiple traditional and online sources each week They have much in common with news lovers, they are more likely to pay for news, and are heavily into social media. We will refer to this sub-group from time to time.

*** Traditional only: These users tend to be older with a female bias across all countries.

Base: All markets UK (n=2078) US (n=2028) Spain (n=979) Japan (n=978) Italy (n=965) Germany (n=1062) France (n=973) Denmark (n=1007) Urban Brazil (n=985)