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Reuters’ Digital News Report Finds Social, Mobile on the Rise but Video Flat

June 17, 2015 | By Rande Price, Research Director – DCN @Randeloo

The Reuters Institute 2015 Digital News Report’s global tracking study (20,000 news consumers in 12 countries) offers robust findings on consumer news consumption.

The U.S. country-specific data (2,295 news consumers) identifies Online—which includes social media—as the main news source (43%) compared to TV (40%), Social (11%) and Newspaper (5%).

Among Reuters’ key findings:

  • In terms of accuracy, TV is still viewed as best (36%) source for accuracy versus Online (30%).
  • Overall, U.S. news consumers are still skeptical of the news media at large – 32% trust in general and 56% trust my sources.
  • The paradigm for access shows Smartphones as essential for news consumption – at 41% from 31% in 2014.
  • In fact 26% of U.S. news consumers claim their smartphone to be their main device for accessing news. In contrast, tablet usage at 21% only grew 2% from 2014 and only one in 10 cite as their main device to access news.
  • Growth in mobile news alerts doubled, 13% in 2015 from 6% in 2014.
  • 14% of news lovers, the heaviest user group, access news content 5+ times per day.
  • Interestingly, video news consumption is flat at 30% compared to last year.
    Top barriers to video notes “I find reading more convenient (39%)”, “I would like to watch on a bigger screen and Pre-roll ads tend to put me off (23%, respectively).”
  • The minority of news consumers (11%) pay for digital news access, averaging $10 (median) per month. It is important to note that just over than two-thirds (67%) report that they “would not pay whatever the price.”
  • Not surprisingly, social media plays an important role on how news consumers find news (35%) from 30% in 2014. In fact, 35% use social media as their starting point for news.
  • News consumers feel plagued by digital advertising resulting in almost half (47%) regularly using ad-blocking. As digital news try new creative ad models such as native and sponsored ads, there is concern among users of blurring the lines between editorial content with brands.

Download the full report for greater depth, a range of country-specific data and access to a great essay (page 101), “Attitudes to Sponsored and Branded Content.”

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