A recent Ofcom study(1) looked at how adults and older children (aged 12–15) in the United Kingdom consumed news across:
- social media;
- other internet sources; and
The study found that young people are significantly more likely to keep up with news using the Internet than TV or other sources.
Nine out of 10 (89%) younger people aged 16–24 follow news stories online, compared with under two-thirds (61%) who get their news from TV. It is a similar picture among people from a minority ethnic background, with 85% favouring internet news compared with 69% favouring TV news.
However, the use of TV news generally held steady during 2021 and, despite these exceptions, it remains the most popular news source among the general UK adult population (79%). Nevertheless, the data indicates that the use of radio, print newspapers and the Internet for news declined year on year, falling by 6%, 5% and 3%, respectively.
Other findings from the research include the following:
- After TV (79%), the Internet is the next most popular platform for news (73%), followed by radio (46%). Approximately one-third of adults (32%) get their news from print newspapers but, when combining traditional print with newspaper websites and apps, this increases to 49%.
- BBC One remains the most popular news source overall (62%); this was followed by ITV (46%) and Facebook (36%), although both saw declines in use for news since 2020 (from 49% and 40%, respectively). Several other news sources also saw similar declines year on year, including:
- Channel 4 (26% to 24%);
- BBC Radio 2 (16% to 13%); and
- BBC Radio 1 (13% to 11%).
- When people were asked which of the main news sources is the most important to them, BBC One came out on top (19%), although this had decreased from 22% of adults in 2020. The BBC website or app was selected as the next most valued news source, increasing in importance since 2020 (from 8% to 11%).
- Half of adults use social media (49%) and other non-social media websites and apps for news (49%). Younger people aged 16–24 are much more likely to consider social media platforms as their most important sources of news (36% compared with 14% for the average UK population). However, social media generally performs least well on measures such as:
- range of opinions; and
- One-fifth (19%) of UK adults use news aggregators and 25% say that they use search engines for news, a decline from 2020 (28%).
- Just under six out of 10 (57%) 12–15-year-olds say that they are interested in news. They remain particularly interested in news about:
- music (53%);
- celebrities (45%);
- the environment (44%); and
- serious things happening in the United Kingdom (43%).
- Although BBC One and BBC Two remain the most used (35%) and most important news sources (14%) among 12–15-year-olds, these channels have seen a significant reduction in use over the past year (down from 41%). In contrast, Sky News (19% to 24%), TikTok (11% to 22%) and WhatsApp (16% to 21%) are all used to access news more often than in 2020.
For further information on this topic please contact Adelaide Lopez at Wiggin by telephone (+44 0 7826 798110) or email ([email protected]). The Wiggin website can be accessed at www.wiggin.co.uk.
(1) To access the study, click here.