08 Jul Digital News Report 2022
The 11th Digital News Report has been created by YouGov alongside the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. It includes data from 6 continents and 46 markets.
The report tracks online news and engagement and highlights major developments within the world of news media.
- Trust in the news has fallen in almost half the countries in our survey.
- Around four in ten (42%) say they trust most news most of the time.
- Finland remains the country with the highest levels of overall trust (69%).
- Trust in the USA remains the lowest (26%) in our survey.
CONSUMPTION OF MEDIA
- Consumption of TV and print declined further in the last year in almost all markets (pre-Ukraine invasion), with online and social consumption not making up the gap.
- While the majority remain very engaged, others are turning away from the news media and in some cases disconnecting from news altogether.
- Interest in news has fallen sharply across markets, from 63% in 2017 to 51% in 2022.
- The proportion of news consumers who say they avoid news, often or sometimes, has increased sharply across countries.
- Selective avoidance has doubled in both Brazil (54%) and the UK (46%) over the last five years.
- A significant proportion of younger and less educated people say they avoid news because it can be hard to follow or understand.
- Global concerns about false and misleading information remain stable.
- People say they have seen more false information about Coronavirus than about politics in most countries.
DIGITAL NEWS SUBSCRIPTIONS
- Despite increases in the proportion paying for online news in a small number of richer countries (Australia, Germany, and Sweden), there are signs that overall growth may be levelling off.
- Across a basket of 20 countries where payment is widespread, 17% paid for any online news – the same figure as last year.
- Persuading younger people to pay remains a critical issue for industry, with the average age of a digital news subscriber almost 50.
- A large proportion of digital subscriptions go to just a few big national brands – reinforcing the winner takes most dynamics that we have reported in the past.
- In the face of rapidly rising household bills, some will rethink the number of media subscriptions they can afford this year – which include news, television, music, and books.
The report documents ways in which the connection between journalism and the public may be fraying, including a fall in trust following last year’s positive bump, a declining interest in news and a rise in news avoidance. It also looks at audience polarisation and explores how young people access news.
THIRD-PARTY DATA COLLECTION
- With first-party data collection becoming more important for publishers with the imminent demise of third-party cookies, we find that most consumers are still reluctant to register their email address with news sites.
- Across our entire sample, only around a third (32%) say they trust news websites to use their personal data responsibly – comparable to online retailers such as Amazon – and the figure is even lower in the United States (18%) and France (19%).
DIGITAL ACCESS TO NEWS
- Access to news continues to become more distributed.
- Across all markets, less than a quarter (23%) prefer to start their news journeys with a website or app.
- Those aged 18–24 have a weaker connection with websites and apps, preferring to access news via side-door routes such as social media, search, and mobile aggregators.
- Facebook remains the most-used social network for news but users are more likely to say they see too much news in their feed compared with other networks.
- The youngest generation has switched much of its attention to more visual networks over the last three years.
- TikTok has become the fastest growing network in this year’s survey, reaching 40% of 18–24s, with 15% using the platform for news.
- Social media has increased the profile of many digital journalists – when asked to name journalists they pay attention to, newspaper columnists have higher name recognition in the UK and Finland.
- The smartphone has become the dominant way in which most people first access news in the morning.
- Growth in podcasts seems to have resumed, with 34% consuming one or more podcasts in the last month.
Disconnection is just one sign of the difficulties of engaging some audiences in a more digital environment.
“While some individual news media have clearly been very successful at building online reach or convincing people to subscribe, and developed new offers across podcast, video, and newsletters, this year’s data show many publishers are still struggling to come to terms with structural changes that have been ravaging the industry for more than a decade.”
More people are disconnected, interest in news is down, selective news avoidance up, and trust far from a given.
Photo: Reuters Institute