Overview and key findings of the 2023 Digital News Report

 

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Nic Newman

This year’s report comes against the backdrop of a global cost-of-living crisis, a continuing war in the heart of Europe, and further climate instability across the world. In this context, a strong supply of accurate, well-funded, independent journalism remains critical, but in many of the countries covered in our survey, we find these conditions challenged by low levels of trust, declining engagement, and an uncertain business environment.

Our report aims to bring new insights on these issues at what is a particularly difficult time for the industry as well as for many ordinary people. We look in more detail what is behind low engagement and selective news avoidance – and we explore public appetites for approaches that might combat this. More specifically, we look at the sources people use to inform themselves about their personal finances and the extent to which different groups find this type of information easy or difficult to understand.

Our podcast on the report

https://open.spotify.com/embed/episode/4tqp5uLJCYbiEUq7MRHFnr?utm_source=generator

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In the light of the squeeze on household spending, we find that many people have been rethinking how much they can afford to spend on news media. We have conducted detailed qualitative research in the UK, US, and Germany with consumers who have cancelled, maintained, and started subscriptions in the last year to understand the underlying motivations for signing up – as well as key barriers. In our country and market pages, which combine industry developments with local data, we see how different media companies are managing the economic downturn with many accelerating their path to digital by shifting resources further away from broadcast or print.

Perhaps the most striking findings in this year’s report relate to the changing nature of social media, partly characterised by declining engagement with traditional networks such as Facebook and the rise of TikTok and a range of other video-led networks. Yet despite this growing fragmentation of channels, and despite evidence that public disquiet about misinformation and algorithms is at near record highs, our dependence on these intermediaries continues to grow. Our data show, more clearly than ever, how this shift is strongly influenced by habits of the youngest generations, who have grown up with social media and nowadays often pay more attention to influencers or celebrities than they do to journalists, even when it comes to news.

In our extra analysis chapters this year, we’ve identified the most popular news podcasts in around a dozen countries – along with the platforms that are most used to access this content. We also explore increasing levels of criticism of the news media, often driven by politicians and facilitated by social media. We also devote a section to the particular case of public service media that have been at the forefront of this criticism and face particular challenges in delivering their universal mission in a fractious and fragmented media environment.

This twelfth edition of our Digital News Report, which is based on data from six continents and 46 markets, reminds us of the different conditions in which journalism operates in many parts of the world, but also about the common challenges faced by publishers around weak audience engagement and low trust in an age of abundant digital and social media. The overall story is captured in this Executive Summary, followed by chapters containing additional analysis, and then individual country and market pages.

Here is a summary of some of the most important findings from our 2023 research.

  • Our data show how the various shocks of the last few years, including the war in Ukraine and the Coronavirus pandemic, have accelerated structural shifts towards more digital, mobile, and platform-dominated media environments, with further implications for the business models and formats of journalism.
  • Across markets, only around a fifth of respondents (22%) now say they prefer to start their news journeys with a website or app – that’s down 10 percentage points since 2018. Publishers in a few smaller Northern European markets have managed to buck this trend, but younger groups everywhere are showing a weaker connection with news brands’ own websites and apps than previous cohorts – preferring to access news via side-door routes such as social media, search, or mobile aggregators.
  • Facebook remains one of the most-used social networks overall, but its influence on journalism is declining as it shifts its focus away from news. It also faces new challenges from established networks such as YouTube and vibrant youth-focused networks such as TikTok. The Chinese-owned social network reaches 44% of 18–24s across markets and 20% for news. It is growing fastest in parts of Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Latin America.

Seguir leyendo: Reuters Institute

Imagen de Gerd Altmann en Pixabay

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