News is more important to consumers during a recession

The recession impacted virtually every aspect of people’s lives – and their relationship with the news was no exception. Data from FD’s Media Monitor series reveals that news consumption habits of UK consumers have gone through a “double-twist” in the last two years.

Guy Bellamy, FD’s creative director and author of the nine-year tracking study, says: “Over the last three years there have been a number of major swings in people’s news consumption habits. In 2009, we saw a dramatic shift away from interest in the themes that were popular during and perhaps symptoms of the boom years – holidays, car buying, residential property, food and drink. Instead people really wanted to use news media to engage with the more serious issues they were facing and dealing with. There was a hunger for sound economic forecasts and money, legal issues and business stories rose significantly in popularity and importance.

“During 2010 our research also showed a counter-swing in the tone of news people were engaging with. As people had adjusted to the recession they increasingly wanted to know more about what they could do about things and some even wanted news that would put a smile on their face.”

Change in the topics people wanted to follow in the news – and overall tone of news – were one aspect of many fundamental changes in people’s relationship with news since the start of the recession. FD’s research during 2010 has also shown that:

  • News has become a much more important part of people’s daily routines now than it was two years ago. 
  • More people are following news in the evening rather than the morning or during work.
  • The range of news media consumed has changed.
  • Many people have more defined ideas on the media they trust for heavyweight, impartial comment.

Bellamy comments: “FD has been running its Media Monitor series for nine years and the intention of the research is to go beyond looking at who follows which media and really understand the “demand” dynamics that shape news habits – which stories do people engage with, what is the tone of news that impacts and what is the inter-relationship between the wide-ranging news media that people follow as part of their daily routines. In an age of media over-supply, knowing how people choose to engage with news and how they are influenced is more important than correlating channel to segment.”

The type of stories people most like to follow (Q4 2010)


Stories about topics impacting my family and life


Stories that make me stop and think about an issue


News about where I live




Stories that make me laugh


Uplifting news


Stories that strike up conversations at home or at work


News about the recession


Sound economic forecasts


Shock headlines


Surveys about what people think















BackgroundFD’s research series that polls more than 10,000 consumers a year is an exclusive resource for its clients, although during the early months of 2011, a number of research highlights will be shared exclusively with PRmoment.

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