Comparative Brand Data Analysis

In this section we draw on country data on brand performance along with questions asked elsewhere in the survey about the types of news sources accessed online and offline. This includes a typology of different online sources whether they are traditional newspaper providers such as the New York Times, or broadcaster websites from e.g. NHK or the BBC, pure players and aggregators like Yahoo and Huffington Post and Google News, or social media sources like YouTube and Facebook

In the figure we have used these classifications to show the level of disruption suffered by traditional news organisations from pure players and social media. We can see that in some countries like Finland, Denmark, and the United Kingdom traditional brands still dominate online news; pure players and social media have made comparatively few inroads. By contrast, in the United States pure players have pretty much caught up with traditional news providers and the same is true of social media sources in urban Brazil. Japan is a special case. The market dominance of Yahoo means that in total pure players outstrip reported online usage by all traditional broadcast and media outlets.

Disruption to traditional media companies by country

Q3. Which, if any, of the following have you used in the last week as a source of news?

Base: All markets 2014 – UK=2082, Germany=2063, Spain=2017, Italy=2010, France=1946, Denmark=2036, Finland=1520, US=2197, Urban Brazil=1015, Japan=1973

Newspapers around the world

Within the media sector and more generally there has been most concern and discussion about the future of newspapers and the wider democratic implications as business models have been turned upside down by the move to digital. This is because newspaper groups employ the majority of journalists and have tended to conduct more hard-hitting investigations into the rich and powerful than broadcasters or pure players.

However, with the exception of France and USA, newspapers still reach three-quarters of all those interested in news – through a combination of their print and online versions. Finland has 93% combined reach, with very high levels of overlap (i.e. people are using both rather than substituting online for print) and Denmark is the same – partly driven by bundled print and online subscriptions. In the US we have seen falling print sales and much more substitution by online.

Despite the economic pressures, in most countries we can see that the overall reach (and influence) of newspaper groups across online and print remains substantial.

Cross-platform, print-only and online newspaper reach by country

Q5. Which, if any, of the following have you used to access news in the last week?

Base: All markets 2014 – UK: 2082; Germany: 2063; Spain: 2017; Italy: 2010; France: 1946; Denmark: 2036; Finland: 1520; USA: 2197; Urban Brazil: 1015; Japan: 1973

In every country apart from Finland and Italy, print still provides more readers than online and each country has a very different make-up. We next show overlaps in Venn diagram form. These charts have been achieved by tagging offline and online sources in our country lists and measuring overlaps in reported weekly usage of newspaper brands.

The two countries at the bottom of the diagram, Finland and Denmark, have successfully managed to transition most of their print readers to digital. In France and the US, not only is the size of the online bubble much smaller – illustrating greater disruption – but many traditional readers have not transitioned to the digital versions of the newspaper and may never do so.

Overlaps in newspaper usage between print and online

Combined 55%
Print 44%
Online 40%

Figure 1-11ci - France

Combined 93%
Print 79%
Online 82%

Figure 1-11cii - Finland

Combined 83%
Print 67%
Online 67%

Figure 1-11ciii - Denmark

Combined 58%
Print 49%
Online 33%

Figure 1-11civ - US

Many more sources of news but consumers stick to a few trusted brands

The growth of digital media and the expansion of choice via cable and satellite television has provided access to more and more sources of news than ever before – most of them free. These include national sources but also international brands such as Al-Jazeera, the International New York Times, and specialist blogs and websites that provide information related to work and entertainment.

Against this background, it is perhaps surprising that our data suggest most people continue to access a relatively small number of trusted sources.

Number of sources – traditional and online

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  UK Germany Spain Italy France Denmark Finland USA Urban Brazil Japan
Traditional (TV, radio and print) 2.87 4.33 4.12 4.35 3.69 4.38 3.65 3.23 3.22 3.45
Online 2.13 2.74 2.99 3.06 2.70 2.96 3.72 2.81 2.92 2.30
Both 4.33 5.56 5.67 5.82 5.02 5.77 5.80 4.98 5.23 4.83

Q5. Which, if any, of the following have you used to access news in the last week?

Base: All markets 2014 – UK: 2082; Germany: 2063; Spain: 2017; Italy: 2010; France: 1946; Denmark: 2036; Finland: 1520; USA: 2197; Urban Brazil: 1015; Japan: 1973

On average news consumers access between four and five different news sources per week across television, radio, print, and online media. In practice the number of sources is likely to be fewer because this method double-counts news brands that are consumed offline and online. On the other hand our methodology is based on counting a list of around 40 sources in each country so will undercount the long tail of smaller news sources.

In Germany, Italy, and Denmark the number of traditional sources accessed is higher but this may partly be because television and radio news audiences are split across different public service and commercial brands. In the UK and Brazil there is more concentration with the BBC and Globo operating across multiple platforms.

In some ways the online figures are more intriguing. Although the number of sources available is almost infinite, the average user tends to access fewer than three sources each week, with the British and Japanese using just over two. In each of these markets there is one very large provider (BBC and Yahoo respectively), which in each case has a market share of 50% or more of online users in a given week. Elsewhere, as can be seen in the country page charts above, there is a wider split and a greater variety of brands is consumed.