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Changing patterns in the consumption of news in Ireland

posted on 23 June, 2015   (public)

Changing patterns in the consumption of news in Ireland

New research commissioned by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), which was published on 23 June, highlighted significant changes in the way in which Irish people access news. This new report is based on data generated for the 4th Reuters Institute Digital News Report published on 16 June. The BAI facilitated the inclusion of Ireland, for the first time, in this international research project as part of its work on media plurality in Ireland. The BAI partnered with the Institute of Future Media and Journalism (FuJo) at Dublin City University (DCU) to produce a more detailed Irish specific digital news report. The research was conducted via an online questionnaire. The sample size was 1,501 adults accessing news online once a month or more.

Among the key findings of the analysis were:

  • News consumption is high in Ireland across all demographics, with 86% of people accessing some news every day. Digital migration is significant with 41% of respondents stating that online is their main source of news. However, at 58% traditional news sources remain important but within these TV (37%) is the dominant player.  
  • TV is the most highly valued news source commanding the most trust and because of its accuracy and reliability.
  • Only 46% trust the news in general, but 57% said they trust their chosen sources of news. Traditional news is perceived to be more accurate, reliable and trusted than online news in general.
  • At 7%, Ireland has one of the lowest rates of paying for news of the countries surveyed. Only a fifth of these are subscribers. One-off payment accounts for the rest, indicating this revenue stream is not yet a reliable one for digital publishers. 
  • public broadcaster RTÉ dominates the domestic market with 58% watching TV news and 33% listening to RTÉ radio news weekly; RTÉ News online is alsothe most accessed digital news brand at 31%. Private broadcaster TV3 news has a 32% weekly reach for its broadcast service and 5% for its online offering.  International players like Sky News (38%) and BBC News (33%) are also significant sources for Irish audiences.
  • Social media is not as highly trusted as other news sources, with just 7% considering it a trusted source, compared to 36% for TV and 11% for print news.
  • The starting point of a news journey was less likely to be a brand homepage, and increasingly likely to be via a search engine, a social network, email, or the lockscreen of a smartphone.  44% of those surveyed went directly to a news brand, while 46% went to a search engine at a start point, with 36% accessing news content via social media.

2015 is the fourth year of the Digital News Report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford. This year's report reveals new insights about digital news consumption based on a survey of over 20,000 online news consumers in the US, UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Brazil, Japan and Australia. This year's data shows a quickening of the pace towards social media platforms as routes to audiences, together with a surge in the use of mobile for news, a decline in the desktop internet and significant growth in video news consumption online. The Report combines key data points with a series of essays to add depth and context to the findings. In one of the essays, Alison Preston, Head of Digital Literacy at UK Regulator Ofcom, explores the generational divide in news consumption, along with the implication for industry and policy-makers.

Source: Website of the BAI/Reuters