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Brief Published: 26 Jun 2020

New Report Reveals The Future of Digital News

Extra
Instagram is set to overtake Twitter as a news source, research suggests.

Global consumption of news is changing; new formats are capturing the attention of different generations while the biased coverage of seismic world events is eroding trust in traditional news outlets. We highlight key findings from the Reuters Digital News report – which polled 80,000 people in 40 different countries – and explore emerging consumer trends which brands need to be aware of.

  • Trust – A Global Rarity: Trust in media outlets varies considerably across the globe; in Finland and Portugal over half of the people surveyed (56%) say they trust news most of the time. Along with Turkey (55%), Netherlands (52%), Brazil (51%) and Kenya (50%), they are the only countries where the public’s trust currently exceeds 50%. 
    At the other end of the spectrum, less than a quarter of people in Taiwan (24%), France (23%), and South Korea (21%) say the same.
    A 16% point fall in Hong Kong (30%) is the most notable development over the last year, which follows protests against (and subsequent media coverage of) the controversial extradition bill.
  • Britain’s Trust Loss: Only 28% of those polled in the UK say they trust the news most of the time, down from 40% last year and 50% before the 2016 EU vote. Leftwing voters are leading the trend; 15% of left-leaning voters now say they trust the news, a huge decline from 46% in 2015. Reuters attributes the decline to the increasingly polarised nature of political debate on issues such as Brexit.
  • Generational Divides Exposed: Gen Z (born 1996-2009) has a weaker connection with traditional news outlets than their forebears. They are more than twice as likely to prefer to access news via social media (38%) than direct news websites (16%). For example, younger groups access much of their climate change news from social media by following activists like Greta Thunberg.
    Despite Gen Z being the greatest consumers of podcasts (43%), less than half (24%) say they use this format to consume the news. They lag behind young millennials (born 1986-1995), 34% of whom use podcasts to access news and information on current affairs.

For more insights on changing consumer behaviour online, see New Survey Reveals Lockdown Digital Usage Trends

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