Some nuggets from the Digital News Report 2015

The Dig­i­tal News Report 2015 (Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty / Reuters Insti­tute) makes for inter­est­ing read­ing even if you don’t work online news and jour­nal­ism. It’s like a snap­shot of a cul­tur­al tran­si­tion. Mobile is pin­point­ed as the major change dri­ver, but not in the news apps you might expect, rather through social shar­ing and video.

There are plen­ty of fas­ci­nat­ing insights in there, but one that real­ly stood out to me is how dras­ti­cal­ly dif­fer­ent the UK news mar­ket is from the rest of the world: because of the BBC.

In the UK, over half of smart­phone news users (51%) reg­u­lar­ly use the BBC News app, the only coun­try where we see this lev­el of reach.

This goes some way to explain­ing why large sec­tions of the estab­lished old media want to see the BBC bro­ken up – and why it’s impor­tant to defend it:

Many of the coun­tries with the high­est lev­els of trust also have well-fund­ed pub­lic ser­vice broad­cast­ers.

Away from old media, this is a BIG change:

Only in Japan is Face­book NOT the largest net­work for news.

I’d nev­er real­ly con­sid­ered before how the pas­sive expo­sure to news is greater on Face­book:

In Face­book the pur­suit of news is sec­ondary, with the main aim being com­mu­ni­cat­ing with friends. Twit­ter, on the oth­er hand, is seen much more as an active des­ti­na­tion for news by an audi­ence that is deeply inter­est­ed in lat­est devel­op­ments.

The fil­ter bub­ble also seems not to be an issue, with users (self-)reporting that this pas­sive expo­sure means they see a broad­er range of news sources than they might oth­er­wise choose:

Three-quar­ters of social media users (76%) and search users (73%) said they some­times or fre­quent­ly accessed dif­fer­ent sources – lead­ing them to brands they would not oth­er­wise use.

I won­der how that com­pares between Face­book and Twit­ter. My instinc­tive pre­sump­tion is that expo­sure is more nar­row on Twit­ter as you’re more selec­tive about fol­low­ing peo­ple whose views broad­ly fol­low your own, where­as on Face­book your choic­es are more dic­tat­ed by fam­i­ly and friends – I know I would rarely be exposed to far-right mate­r­i­al if it weren’t for my racist cousin…

There seems to be some­what of a back­lash against web adver­tis­ing recent­ly, per­haps brought on by the fact that so much of it is annoy­ing, dis­tract­ing and intru­sive.

It is not sur­pris­ing that many pub­lish­ers are aban­don­ing the old mod­els in favour of new ‘native’ adver­tis­ing or spon­sored con­tent.

Which is great… but for this:

A third or more say they have felt dis­ap­point­ed or deceived after read­ing an arti­cle they lat­er found had been spon­sored. Over a quar­ter feel less pos­i­tive­ly about the news brand as a result of spon­sored con­tent or native adver­tis­ing.

If peo­ple don’t like spon­sored con­tent, and aren’t will­ing to sign up for pay­walls, and don’t even like adverts at all in many cas­es, per­haps there’s scope for the growth of micro­pay­ments in the future.