Consumers still loyal to television for news, print and online media trail behind

Nearly 50 per cent of people say that television is their main source of news, as opposed to nearly 20 per cent who prefer either online or newspapers. The over-55 age group are the least likely to choose internet news (just 11 per cent) and most likely to choose television (52 per cent). 

Supplied by Opinium Research

Howard Kosky, chairman of broadcast media agency markettiers4dc, is surprised at the high number still tuning to TV first, as he thinks that many people these days prefer to access their news online. Kosky believes that the time of day strongly influences how national news is accessed as needs are different throughout the day. He adds: “If you were to research consumers asking where they get their news at different times, in the morning they would choose to listen to the radio.” Kosky also highlights the importance of local radio stations, particularly in the regions outside London, as this gives tailored news for the area in an immediate way.

Supplied by Opinium Research

Nearly one-third of those interviewed claim that they pay a great deal of attention to news and current affairs and nearly 40 per cent of these keen news consumers like to access breaking news throughout the day. As well as these news fans, it is noteworthy how much more the 55-plus age group pay attention to news and current affairs, with 42 per cent saying they pay a great deal of attention compared with just 19 per cent of 18-34 year olds. Regionally, Londoners are also more interested in news, with 38 per cent paying a great deal of attention, whereas in the North East and North West of England this figure falls to 26 per cent. The good news for news enthusiasts is that there is no shortage of information available. Quite the reverse. As Kosky put it: “There is a danger of news overload. If you are a news junkie there is a platform available for you.”

However, as Michael Nutley, editor in chief of New Media Age points out, some of our existing platforms are being swiftly undermined: “The old is being swept away faster than the new is being created. That’s also the view of US blogger and author Clay Shirky. The advertising recession, coupled with a massive systemic change in media, is throwing the future of media into doubt.” Nutley points to what is happening in the US, where long-established print titles are closing, to be replaced by online versions. He adds: “Although some newspaper websites are now in profit, the money they make is far from making up for that being lost as readers desert the print editions. They are, in the industry saying, ‘Swapping analogue dollars for digital dimes‘.”

Nutley says it is encouraging for media owners that research suggests that some people will pay from some content, particularly that which they find essential. But as Nutley points out: “Can enough people be persuaded to pay enough to keep publications going, or will the media of the future look more like The Guardian or newspaper publishing company Axel Springer, producing content for free and supporting it with additional revenue from activities such as games, dating and value-added services?”

Amidst all the turmoil that is happening in the news media, with news rooms dwindling there is potential for PR professionals to shine. Kosky says that consumers are just as happy to go to brands direct for information, as to get the news from a journalist. He says, “Good, well-versed PR practitioners have a massive opportunity at the moment. People see very little difference between a news journalist and a media savvy PR practitioner.“

Methodology

Opinium Research carried out 2006 online interviews for PRmoment in the UK, from Friday 29 May to Tuesday 2 June.


Your PR Planning Guide PR Moment Awards 2020