NEW STATS: Newspapers are now the least most popular way to get news

189144143_2c114eed34_oThis is significant: printed newspapers have become the least popular way that people use to keep up to date with what is going on in the world.

According to a report in the Guardian the annual Ofcom news consumption study will say that 31 per cent of the population read a printed newspaper to keep informed. This is a fall from 41 per cent the previous year.

On the other hand, TV news on 67 per cent, the internet with 41 per cent and radio 32 per cent are all comfortably ahead of breaking news on the news stand.

To anyone interested in the media landscape this feels like hugely landmark news in itself. To communications teams geared-up to service the needs of newspapers first and foremost this feels especially important.

It’s also further evidence that while newspapers used to be practically the only show in town they are not any longer.

The full report doesn’t appear to have been published on the Ofcom site. Their reports always bear reading and the Ofcom Communications Market 2015 report should be required reading for all comms and PR people. I’ve blogged the findings here.

To look at this from a newspaper perspective, they would argue their websites and social media are included in the internet column. So, ‘it’s complicated’ maybe one summary.

The Guardian report also had a few more significant bulletpoints:

  • 25 per cent of people use their mobile phones to keep up to date – up four per cent.
  • 14 per cent of people use word of mouth to get their news – up three per cent.
  • Young people are more likely to go online (59 per cent) than watch the TV (‘around half.’)
  • BBC1 was the top news source on 48 per cent, ITV second with 23 per cent, the BBC app or website 23 per cent, BBC News channel 14 per cent and Facebook 12 per cent along with Sky News.

Here’s a link to the full document Ofcom document News Consumption in the UK 2015.

Creative commons credit: Soon / Flickr /


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  1. Which suggests to me that the prominence given to the views of newspapers on TV and Radio news programmes needs to be re-considered

  2. We in the comms world are often eager to hammer another nail into the coffin of the newspaper. Maybe because our employers are often so obsessed by them and we want the hard evidence to show them they don’t matter so much these days. But there’s also the tendency to see the world through a digital lens in which old analogue formats are old hat. I think it’s a bit more nuanced than the stats suggest. First, the perception of the importance of newspapers *does* matter in terms of influencing opinion, especially in a local context. It goes beyond how many people actually part cash for pyshical papers. Publishers always remind us that readership is more signifant than circulation. Newspaper websites (yes, including comments sections) and even newsagents’ headline boards contribute to that. Clients often refer to something getting in the [insert local paper’s name here]. Perhaps it’s the case we need to work harder to change the popular perception of the power of newspapers on the popular consciousness. But we shouldn’t write them off either. We need to get away from thinking about formats or channels (as we are in comms) to thinking about multi-channel media brands.

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