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BBC releases world’s largest global study of news consumption habits


BBC releases world’s largest global study of news consumption habits


BBC World News and BBC.com today released the results of ‘the largest global study to date’ on the consumption of news in the digital age, conducted in order to determine the growing impact of TV, smartphones, tablets and laptops on people’s news consumption habits.

Key findings include:

  • Tablet owners watch more TV news, not less, with 43% of tablet users saying they consume more TV than they did five years ago, and most saying they use tablets alongside TV,
  • young professionals, the 25 to 34-year-old demographic, are the biggest news enthusiasts,
  • second screening for news is becoming commonplace, with users often using devices in tandem. 83% of tablet users say they have used their tablets while watching television,
  • TV still dominates overall usage, taking 42% of people’s news consumption time compared with laptops (29%), smartphones (18%) and tablets (10%),
  • news audiences expect to see advertising nearly as much on mobile (79% tablet, 84% smartphone) as they do on TV (87%) and online (84%), and
  • people respond to advertising across all the screens, with one in seven users indicating they responded to a mobile ad in the last four weeks while responses to TV and desktop are one in five and one in four respectively.

The survey found that, rather than competing, different platforms complement one another allowing people to layer their device usage throughout the day. Smartphones and laptops are most popular throughout the working day, peaking at around 1pm. TV usage spikes dramatically from 5pm onwards, and at its peak time of 7pm TV use is 50% higher than for any other device.

The survey also found that, in breaking news situations, users turn to television as their primary and first device (42%), with the majority (66%) then turning to the internet to investigate stories further. Users rated national and international news of most importance (84%, 82%), closely followed by local news (79%). Financial and business news (61%) were more highly valued than news about sports (56%) and arts/entertainment news (43%).

Jim Egan, CEO of BBC Global News recently visited Australia and New Zealand and presented results from the study. “Avid news consumers are hungry for information wherever they are and expect to stay in touch on all the devices they now own. There’s been speculation for years that mainstream uptake of smartphones, laptops and tablets will have a negative impact on television viewing, but this study has found that the four devices actually work well together, resulting in greater overall consumption rather than having a cannibalising effect,” Egan says.

The study, conducted by InSites Consulting, surveyed more than 3600 owners of digital devices in Australia, Singapore, India, UAE, South Africa, Poland, Germany, France and the US. Survey participants were top income earners and owners of at least three devices among television, tablet, smartphone and laptop/desktop.



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