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ERC reports on news consumption in Portugal

posted on 01 September, 2015   (public)

ERC reports on news consumption in Portugal

On 19 May 2015, the Portuguese regulator ERC published an extensive report on news consumption in Portugal.

This document represents the first report of the ERC project on audiences and media consumption which was launched in late 2014 and whose main purpose is to analyse the development of media consumption in Portugal.

The questionnaire used in the Reuters Institute Digital News Report, which consists of an annual analysis of media consumption on digital platforms in several different countries, was used as a reference. The ERC requested the scientific support of a team of researchers from the Sociology Research and Study Centre – University Institute of Lisbon (CIES - IUL), with the aim of adapting the Reuters Institute questionnaire to the Portuguese situation. In addition to the analysis at national level, whenever methodologically possible a comparative analysis at international level has been included based on data from the Reuters Institute 2014 Digital News Report.

The main conclusions arising from the survey are set forth below:

  • Internet access: Sending and receiving e-mails (92%), using the social networks (88%) and getting in touch with friends (72%) are the three principal activities conducted by the Portuguese on the Internet. With specific regard to media consumption, it should be pointed out that seven in every ten Portuguese citizens use the Internet to “read press news on Facebook” (69%) and less than a quarter of the respondents “watch / listen to television or radio programmes” on the Internet (22%).
  • Interest in news: The frequency of accessing news using offline means (television, radio and newspapers) is greater than the use of online means. The vast majority of Internet users access news via offline means “several times a day” (43%) and/or “once a day” (30%).
  • Most important topics: The three topics regarded as the most important are: “domestic news” (92%), “international news” (75%) and “news on health and education” (40%).
  • News consumption: traditional media, above all television, reamins the principal means of information for consumers of Portuguese news. More than nine in every ten respondents stated television news programmes as one of the resources they had used in the past week (93%).
  • Devices: The desktop computer is the most used device for accessing the Internet (96%), followed by  smartphone (51%) and tablet (19%).
  • Paying for online news: When questioned on their willingness to pay for online news content in the future, three in every four respondents regarded this as “unlikely” or “highly unlikely” (74%).
  • Impartiality: Three in every four respondents in Portugal preferred news in which the journalist provides several different points of view, leaving readers free to form their own opinion (75%).
  • Social networks: Besides being one of the main means of accessing news (66%) after televised news programmes (93%), the social networks are acknowledged as major news access platforms.
  • News and politics: When questioned on their interest in political news, the majority replied “not very interested” (31%) or even “not at all interested” (22%).
  • Online participation: Sharing news on the social networks is a common practice among online news consumers in Portugal: over half share news on the social networks on a weekly basis (55%).

Source: ERC website

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