Warc, 26 June 2014
LONDON: Accessing the news via the internet has become more popular in the UK than reading a newspaper, according to the country's media regulator.
Ofcom's latest News Consumption in the UK report found 41% of British news consumers use websites and apps to keep informed about current affairs while 40% read a newspaper, although TV news remains the main source for 75% of Britons.
While newspaper consumption recorded the same proportion of users as last year, internet usage for news grew significantly from the 32% observed in 2013.
Meanwhile, radio news consumption grew modestly by one point to 36% while magazines fell one point to 5% of consumption.
Ofcom's survey of 2,731 UK adults pointed to the influence of the news choices made by younger people, who appear to be driving these changes.
Some 60% of younger Britons aged 16 to 24 use websites or apps to access the news, up from 44% in 2013, while 40% use a mobile phone and 15% use a tablet. By contrast, only 15% of over-55s use a mobile phone and just 7% use a tablet.
The two generations also diverge over the amount of news they watch on TV – the over-55s watch an average of 196 hours of TV news each year, compared to just 27 hours for 16-24 year olds, and a national average of 115 hours a year.
Furthermore, almost two-thirds (65%) of over-55s name a TV channel as the most important source of news, compared to just 36% of 16-24 year olds.
Younger people are also less likely to follow the news, Ofcom found, with about 10% of 16-24 year olds saying they don't catch up with the news, compared to 5% of all adults and just 3% of over-55s.
Data sourced from Ofcom; additional content by Warc staff