Reuters news reporting service, who has a policy of taking a “value-neutral approach”, recently conducted a study of how media is being consumed in a range of countries.
Reuters sixth annual report was based on more than 36 markets and 70,000 respondents and is the most comprehensive study of media consumption in the world.
The full report focuses on the issues of media trust, changing business models and the role of platforms on consumption; however, for those of us who want a bite-sized summary, we pulled out some of our favorite insights from this year’s report in media consumption.
Reuters Digital News Report 2017: Overview Video
Looking at the sources of media consumption, there is a consistent pattern with both television and online news being the most frequently accessed, while reading of printed materials has continued its multi-year decline.
What’s interesting to us on the chart below was the staggering visual of the 2013 to 2017 increase in the reliance of social media as a primary source of news.
Figure 1 – Sources of News 2012-2017 USA – Reuters
Smartphones are now as important for obtaining information inside the home as well as out.
Users are accessing content in bed (46%), and then use the device when commuting to work. And the voice-activated Amazon Echo is emerging quickly as a new platform for information discovery, ahead of smartwatches in the US.
As connected home devices become more widely available, they could disrupt both the smartphone and further change the notion of how consumer interact with legacy media sources like radio from within the home.
One main finding in the Reuters study is that mobile media and the rise of mobile push notifications have grown especially in the US (+8 percentage points), becoming an important new route to content updates, and giving apps a new lease (Reuters 2017).
Mobile push notifications give marketers and publishers access to attention-grabbing updates that can tap almost two billion people on the shoulder with multimedia formats from static images, videos, and more recently live stream (with users being notified about their friends who are “going live” in-app on Facebook for example).
It is now common for most of us gathering information to have quite a media mix. Surprising, TV is not dead, with Two-thirds of social media users also watching television news (67%), and two-thirds also visit websites or apps (66%). This is especially interesting with the fierce competition coming from so many emerging digital and mobile channels.
There are significant generational splits in the sources used for news and information. Across the country, the younger groups are much more likely to use social and digital media as their main source of information, while older Americans cling to the habits they had growing up. A breakout is demonstrated in the chart below:
Figure 2 – Main Sources of News by Age – All Markets
In other words, targetable audiences are out there and need to be addressed accordingly. If you are focused on an “older” audience the graph above is valuable, but there are facts that also need to be taken into consideration:
- 66% of people over 50 in the United States routinely make purchases from online retailers.
- Nearly three-quarters of adults born between 1946 and 1964 have broadband internet at home.
- While dipping out of the baby boomer demographic slightly, nearly 35% of tablet owners in the United States are over the age of 45.
- Most baby boomers reported that they do most of their pre-purchase research online, especially for large investments like vehicle and appliance purchases.
- Over 27 million social networking users in the U.S. are over the age of 55, with almost 19 million of them active on Facebook specifically. — Showing strong adoption among this age demographic.
As business-to-business marketers, online marketers, and advertising professionals we should take advantage of what each social channel has to offer. For example, Instagram is good at engaging your audience, while Google is great at helping you find prospects with strong purchase intent. Successful brands know their funnel and advertise accordingly.
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