Types of News and the Role of Video

Over the past few years, news publishers have been increasing the range of formats they publish online. Live pages or live blogs have become popular on breaking news stories; picture slideshows and interactive graphics have become popular along with video and audio clips and long-form programmes.

In terms of online content we can see that traditional articles and story lists (e.g. a news front page) remain the most accessed on a weekly basis. Even so, new formats are beginning to take hold. Picture stories and slideshows are popular everywhere except for Denmark (6%) while news graphics are especially well viewed in Japan and Finland. Some countries seem to have taken faster to video content, in particular the United States, and Brazil. Video is typically twice as popular as audio, with the exception of Denmark and Spain where it is the other way round.

Types of online news content accessed by country

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  UK France Germany Denmark Italy Spain Japan Urban Brazil US Finland
List of news headlines 59% 53% 47% 48% 49% 56% 75% 66% 59% 72%
Read longer stories 43% 44% 50% 25% 60% 40% 57% 36% 45% 53%
LIVE page 8% 8% 6% 7% 15% 12% 12% 18% 9% 7%
News related blog 7% 7% 8% 5% 20% 11% 9% 22% 18% 6%
Pictures 14% 16% 21% 6% 15% 19% 18% 30% 19% 14%
Graphics 4% 5% 7% 3% 7% 6% 14% 5% 10% 15%
Video 16% 15% 16% 10% 20% 17% 10% 27% 30% 18%
Audio 5% 8% 9% 16% 17% 22% 4% 11% 12% 8%

Q11 Looking at news online in the last week which of the following ways of consuming news did you use?

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

Spotlight on video usage

Video formats are a particular point of interest for publishers. Newspapers like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have invested in video skills and equipment. Pure players like NowThisNews, Buzzfeed, and the Huffington Post are also investing, not least because video tends to get virally shared in social media and is popular with advertisers. In this year’s report we have looked in detail at the types of video being consumed and the reasons for adoption and non-adoption.

Overall usage remains low compared to text, but some countries like the US and Brazil appear to have a more visual approach to news. Others like Denmark and Japan prefer to stick to text. Overall video users are more likely to be male, better educated, and more interested in news (News Lovers). Age does not seem to be a factor in adoption of video news.It is not clear whether adoption is a function of supply. Consumption remains modest in the UK despite a healthy supply of online news video content.

Weekly video consumption vs text by country

Q11. Looking at news online in the last week, which of the following ways of consuming news did you use?

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

In five countries we asked extra questions about preferences towards video or textual news. In all cases the vast majority preferred to read news or mainly read news – with video as a supplementary format. However, a small minority – about 10% in the United States – actually prefer to access online news in video form.

Preferences around reading or watching news by country

Q11d. In thinking about your online news habits, which of the following statements applies best to you?

Base: All markets – UK=2082, Germany=2063, Spain=2017, Finland=1520, US=2197

Barriers to usage of video

While many prefer the flexibility and convenience of text, there are also practical reasons why video is not more widely adopted. On average, one quarter (24%) said they would prefer to watch video on a bigger screen – and this is particularly the case for the over 45s. Almost one fifth (18%) were frustrated at the length of time it took to load up a video. This impatience was far more evident for younger age groups, who expect web applications to respond instantly.

Reasons for NOT using video

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  UK Germany Spain Finland USA
I don’t find them interesting 12% 13% 11% 14% 13%
I don’t have time 17% 16% 15% 15% 18%
I can’t get them to play properly 7% 5% 5% 12% 7%
Take too long to load up/play 14% 18% 19% 19% 19%
I would rather watch on a bigger screen 26% 23% 29% 26% 24%
I prefer to read articles than watch videos 38% 46% 38% 52% 39%
Concern about cost of access (eg via mobile) 5% 8% 8% 3% 4%

Q11ai. You said that you don’t usually watch news videos online. Why not? (Please select all that apply)

Base: All who don’t watch news videos online – UK=1729, Germany=1721, Spain=1664, Finland=1242, USA=1862

Content topics consumed in video tend to be different from declared interest in news generally. For example, our respondents say they are very interested in regional and local news but consume very little local video – when averaged across our five countries. By contrast the amount of fun/weird news or sports news consumed in video format is far greater than declared general interest levels.

Popular video vs general interest by news topic – average of five countries

Q2/Q11B Which of the following types of NEWS/VIDEO NEWS is most important to you/do you watch most frequently online? Please choose up to five.

Base: All/All who watch video, UK=2082/353; Germany 2062/342; Spain 2017/353; Finland 1520/278; USA 2197/687

Types of video news

A range of video formats is accessed by consumers in our five countries. Short news clips deliver most value for most users, either in providing eyewitness testimony – particularly on a breaking story – or additional context. This might include a reporter’s analysis or an interview with an expert that supports the text content on a page.

Live streams are popular on big breaking-news stories across all genders and ages, whereas scheduled streams such as Prime Minister’s Questions in the UK tend to be watched by men and members of our News Lover category (28% vs 5% for Casual Users). Tablets and smartphones seem to be encouraging more consumption in particular, with 47% of tablet video users and 45% of smartphone video users watching a live news stream in a given month compared with just 36% via a computer.

Type of video and audio content consumed in last month

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  UK Germany Spain Finland USA
Live stream coverage of a breaking news event 32% 38% 31% 40% 33%
Live stream coverage of other scheduled news event (eg political speech, tech launch, fashion event etc) 17% 29% 26% 24% 24%
News clip that adds drama to a text story (eg eyewitness testimony, raw footage of a news event) 51% 44% 57% 54% 45%
News clip that provided context or analysis on a text story eg journalist/politician talking to camera, or a short interview 54% 32% 54% 44% 49%
Longer news programme accessed on demand (eg a stream or download of politics, health, tech, film, food) 21% 37% 28% 18% 19%

Q11aii. Which TYPES of news video have you watched online in the last month? (Please select all that apply)

Base: All who have watched news videos online in past month – UK=353, Germany=342, Spain=353, Finland=278, US=687

In the UK, most video consumed online is from professional news organisations rather than user-generated content. Traditional news brands are strong in the UK so this is perhaps not surprising and only 6% of our sample say they get news from YouTube so we might expect a very different percentage in other countries. The question was only asked in the UK this year.

Origin of news videos – Professional vs user generated (UK only)

Q11c. When thinking about online video news, which of the following statements applies best to you?

Base: UK video users = 353