News & Opinion

Young news lovers are prepared to pay

Newsworks' chief executive Rufus Olins discusses Reuters Institute’s latest study on digital news consumption for his regular MediaTel blog.

Drinking rosé is not confined to the Riviera. Some of the media's great and good made their way to Alfred Place, off Tottenham Court Road, last Tuesday and enjoyed a glass or two there.

Avoiding the hardship of the Mediterranean, they had gathered just north of Soho to learn about the changing world of news from a thought-provoking international study. And as they sipped and talked, the sun was streaming through the windows.

The report previewed - the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2013 - also offered some shafts of light and was picked up widely later in the week by the Financial Times, the Guardian, the Times and many agencies.

It turns out that the more connected we are, by phone and tablet, the more news we consume. It makes sense with so many of us on the move much of the time.

"If I am stopping for coffee or waiting at a bus-stop, I will take a look at what is going on," said one Oxford resident captured on video for the occasion. And those of us with three devices read news more frequently than those of us with two.

Two thirds (67%) of people using two devices access news several times a day, whereas 80% of people who use three devices are reading news several times a day.

This is not a generational thing. Young people are as addicted to news as the generations before them, according to David Levy and Nic Newman from the University of Oxford's Reuters Institute of Journalism. They have an abundance of sources today, but like their parents, they trust the established brands they are familiar with.

As Newsworks' Judy Harman told us, nearly eight out of 10 people trust news from broadcasters or their regular newspaper, compared to around 10% who trust news from blogs, Twitter and Facebook.

So who are the real news junkies, dubbed 'news lovers' by the report? And how many are there? The Reuters Institute estimates that there are now 10 million 'News Lovers' in the UK. They consume more news, share more, are wealthier and are more likely to pay for news.

More than eight out of ten people in this group - that's 8.3 million people - are newspaper readers (many of the remainder are devoted BBC fans). News Lovers are much more likely to own a smartphone (54%) and tablet (31%); they are twice as likely to use Twitter for news as the average.

They tend to be male (57%) and have higher incomes and social grade (46% are AB). They are heavy online users but are also twice as likely to use quality printed newspapers along with the BBC and Sky TV news.

The study, which polled 11,000 internet users across nine countries, including the UK, found that 25 to 34 year olds are the age group most willing to pay for online news.

In the UK, 18% of 25-34s paid for digital news in the last year, compared with an average of 9%. And under 34s are also more likely to consider paying in the future. It was this finding that was most widely discussed over the rosé. The uptake of smartphones and iPads is leading not only to the consumption of more news but a shift in public attitudes towards paying for it.

Source: MediaTel


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