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Reading news online free is top choice for Australians

August 24, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Aussies don’t trust social media and they increasingly prefer to read news digitally – but they like their news to be free. Only 10% are prepared to pay for it, according to trends revealed by new research into Australian media habits and preferences.

The latest media habits report by Deloitte shows Australians are overwhelmingly unwilling to pay for online news. At the same time they are becoming disenchanted with social media. About one third of Aussies have suspended social media accounts, and nearly half say they wish they spent less time on it.

While millions of Australians use social media as a main source of news, few trust it. Perhaps the new “fake news” phenomenon contributes to that.

While 32% of Australians use social media posts (which may include links and reports from traditional media) as their main news source, just 4% say it’s their most trusted source. That compares to a 41.5% trust rating for television news.

Roy Morgan Research’s State of the Nation Media Report meanwhile shows that increasing numbers of Australians are receiving news via digital platforms rather than through traditional print format.

Over the past year, nine of Australia’s leading newspapers have increased their digital readership compared to only three that have increased their print readership.

Overall, 7.8 million Australians continue to read print newspapers, including 5.6 million who read weekday issues, 4.7 million who read Saturday editions and 4.3 million Sunday titles. Those numbers have declined over the past year.

The Deloitte survey, highlighted in the Sydney Morning Herald, studied the online media habits of more than 2000 people. It indicates that Australians are becoming disenchanted with social media, with daily usage dropping from 61% to 59%.

Deloitte also found 90% of Australians are not willing to pay for online news “because there is so much information available for free”. That statistic has not changed over the past four years.

Among statistics to emerge:

  • A total of 69% list TV as a main source of news.
  • Printed newspapers and associated app and online versions are a main source of news for 48% of those surveyed.
  • Readership of printed newspapers has almost halved in 20 years, from 84.3% in 1998 to 44%
  • Half of all advertising goes to online.
  • 77.5% of Australians use the internet more than once a day.
  • 17.2 million Australians aged over 14 use messaging apps and online communities.
  • 44% check Facebook while watching TV.
  • Free-to-air TV reaches 88% at least once a month
  • 41.5% say TV news is their most trusted news source, with newspaper (print, app, online) at 25%.
  • A mere 4% trust social media, less than one quarter of the number who say radio is their most trusted source.

Written by Peter Needham

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