Publication Date: June 2021
Research and Editorial Team: Nic Newman with Richard Fletcher, Anne Schulz, Simge Andı, Craig T. Robertson, and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen

This year's report reveals new insights about digital news consumption based on a YouGov survey of over 92,000 online news consumers in 46 markets including India, Indonesia, Thailand, Nigeria, Colombia and Peru for the first time.

The report looks at the impact of coronavirus on news consumption and on the economic prospects for publishers. It looks at progress on new paid online business models, trust and misinformation, local news, impartiality and fairness in news coverage.

Here the detailed presentation of the report with highlights and data charts.

Among the key findings, there are some general trends:

  • Trust in the news has grown, on average, by six percentage points in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic
  • At the same time, trust in news from search and social has remained broadly stable. This means that the trust gap between the news in general and that found in aggregated environments has grown – with audiences seemingly placing a greater premium on accurate and reliable news sources.
  • In a number of countries, especially those with strong and independent public service media, we have seen greater consumption of trusted news brands.
  • Television news has continued to perform strongly in some countries, but print newspapers have seen a further sharp decline almost everywhere as lockdowns impacted physical distribution, accelerating the shift towards mostly digital future.
  • Despite more options to read and watch partisan news, the majority of our respondents (74%) say they still prefer news that reflects a range of views and lets them decide what to think. Most also think that news outlets should try to be neutral on every issue (66%), though some younger groups think that ‘impartiality’ may not be appropriate or desirable in some cases – for example, on social justice issues.
  • The use of social media for news remains strong, especially with younger people and those with lower levels of education. Messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram have become especially popular in the Global South, creating most concern when it comes to spreading misinformation about Coronavirus.
  • More widely, the use of smartphone for news (73%) has grown at its fastest rate for many years, with dependence also growing through Coronavirus lockdowns. Use of laptop and desktop computers and tablets for news is stable or falling, while the penetration of smart speakers remains limited in most countries – especially for news.
  • Growth in podcasts has slowed, in part due to the impact of restrictions on movement. This is despite some high-profile news launches and more investment via tech platforms. Our data show Spotify continuing to gain ground over Apple and Google podcasts in a number of countries and YouTube also benefiting from the popularity of video-based and hybrid podcasts.
Tags: Digital rights Digitalisation

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