New Formats and the Role of Video

Over the past few years, news publishers have been moving beyond the online ‘article’ to develop a range of native formats – from quizzes to lists to live blogs to infographics, pictures, and short videos that are made for the web. Many of these formats are specifically designed for consuming and sharing in social networks and other offsite platforms.

In our data this year we see the impact of these new formats and of changing patterns of discovery. Homepages (lists of stories) have become less important over the past year as more people find stories and other content via social networks, search, email, and mobile alerts.

Strong trends towards viral sharing in social networks have helped a range of formats to grow, including individual pieces of content like video, and pictures are becoming more regularly accessed.

Ways of consuming news across all countries

Q11. Thinking of the way you looked at news online (via any device) in the last week, which of the following ways of consuming news did you use? Please select ALL that apply.

Base: All.

Note: ‘Looked at a list’ added in 2015. ‘Read news stories or articles’ was previously ‘Read longer news stories or articles’.

For the first time this year we asked about the list format, popularised by Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post amongst others but adopted by many traditional publishers. The Japanese, Brazilians, and Finns have particularly embraced these formats, but only 5% of Germans and 7% of French access them in a given week. Usage of lists is driven by younger groups and by users of new digital-born sites.

List news consumption by country and age

Q11. Thinking of the way you looked at news online (via any device) in the last week, which of the following ways of consuming news did you use? Please select ALL that apply.

Base: Total sample in each country/under 35s in each country.

Video use grows significantly

News video formats are going through a significant transformation. Traditional Publishers like the New York Times in the US, Trinity Mirror in the UK, and Bild in Germany have gained audience and advertising revenue through creating a range of video output for their own websites and for distribution through social media.

In our data, we see a significant jump in the use of online news video in all countries except Germany and also in the US, where the big move happened between 2013 and 2014. Almost a third of US audiences still consume video each week (30%), with Spain and Italy catching up with growth of +10 and +5 respectively. There has also been strong growth in Denmark (+8), the UK (+5), and Japan (+5).

Video consumption by country – 2014 and 2015

Q11. Thinking of the way you looked at news online (via any device) in the last week, which of the following ways of consuming news did you use? Please select ALL that apply.

Base: Total sample in each country 2014/2015.

Also in 2015

Australia 28%
Ireland 27%
Brazil 26%

We do still however find a number of constraints around the use of video news online. Of those who don’t use video, four in ten (40%) said they found reading quicker and more convenient, with 19% agreeing with the statement that videos rarely add anything useful to the text. Older groups are two-thirds as likely to express a preference for a bigger screen. Younger groups, who expect web applications to respond instantly, are more impatient about load times and about preroll advertisements getting in the way of content.

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Barriers to video usage – selected countries

UK US France Germany Finland Italy Ireland
I find reading more convenient 41% 39% 33% 37% 46% 40% 43%
Don’t add to text story 19% 20% 8% 23% 24% 22% 21%
I can’t get them to play properly 7% 11% 6% 6% 6% 11% 8%
Take too long to load up/play 15% 21% 17% 18% 20% 24% 22%
I would rather watch on a bigger screen 29% 23% 16% 20% 19% 16% 26%
Preroll ads tend to put me off 22% 23% 31% 33% 36% 30% 26%
Concern about cost of access (e.g. via mobile) 6% 6% 6% 9% 4% 8% 10%
Q11ai. You said that you don’t usually watch news videos online. Why not? Please select all that apply.

Base: All who haven’t watched online news video in the last week UK = 1689, US = 1588, France = 1609, Germany = 1616, Finland = 1175, Italy = 1495, Ireland = 1093.

Types of video news

Of those who do use video news, consumers access a wide range of video formats. Short news clips (66%) are accessed most regularly; 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 and scheduled events across all genders and ages, but tend to be watched by those who are most interested in news (64% of our News Lover category compared with 45% of Casual Users). News clips have much wider appeal, including for Casual Users who may come across them through browsing on social media.

Clips that add drama to a story were generally most popular but in the US, UK, and Ireland there is more interest in short interviews with journalists or politicians that contextualise the news. Longer news programmes are watched most in France (33%) and Germany (34%), with breaking-news live streams also unusually popular in France (59%).

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Types of video news consumed – selected countries

UK US France Germany Finland Italy Ireland
Live stream (breaking news) 40% 43% 59% 42% 47% 53% 47%
Live stream coverage of other scheduled event (e.g. political, fashion) 19% 25% 36% 28% 23% 37% 24%
News clip that adds drama to a text story (e.g. eyewitness testimony, raw footage of a news event) 52% 52% 44% 51% 48% 47% 47%
News clip that provided context or analysis on a text story (e.g. journalist/politician talking to camera, or a short interview) 48% 59% 38% 38% 40% 35% 51%
Longer news programme accessed on demand (e.g. a stream or download of politics, health, tech, film, food) 15% 18% 33% 34% 15% 25% 16%
Q11aii. Which TYPES of news video have you watched online in the last month? Please select all that apply.

Base: All who watched online news video in the last month UK = 460, US = 707, France = 382, Germany = 353, Finland = 334, Italy = 511, Ireland = 408.

In seven countries we asked extra questions about preferences towards video or textual news. In all cases the vast majority preferred to only read text or mainly read text – with video as a supplementary format. Only a small minority – ranging from 14% in the United States to 2% in Finland – actually prefer to access online news in video form.

However in all these countries (apart from Finland) we have seen a significant move towards video usage in the last year, with fewer people saying they mostly read news in text and more saying they occasionally or regularly watch news videos. The number saying they watch and read about the same has doubled in the UK and Germany in the last year.

Attitudes to video news – selected countries

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

Base: UK = 1981, US = 2138, France = 1807, Germany = 1810, Finland = 1288, Italy = 1734, Ireland = 1357.

Overall, video users are more likely to be male, better educated, and more interested in news (News Lovers).