To understand news consumption in 2023, we conducted research exploring the thoughts and habits of Brits.
News consumption in 2023
Exploring the regularity of news consumption, Brits are more likely to read local news (80%) over national (75%) news. While this might not come as any surprise, the fact that a majority of Brits are reading local or national news once a week or more demonstrates just how engrained into lives this has become. In more detail:
- Over 3 in 5 (62%) Brits read local news once a week or more
- Almost 3 in 5 (58%) Brits read national news once a week or more
- 3 in 10 (30%) Brits read lifestyle/magazines or websites once a week or more
- A quarter (25%) of Brits read trade/business magazines or websites once a week or more
- A third (33%) of Brits read entertainment sites once a week or more
- Well over 2 in 5 (45%) Brits read international news sites/papers once a week or more
Our research also looked to understand how people access the news they read. The data found that those who read publications are more likely to say they read the publications that come up on their news feed app than say they are loyal to particular publications (37% vs 31%). This perhaps demonstrates the importance of wide-spread coverage. There is some contrast across the generations, however, as younger generations (Millennials/Gen Y) are more likely to just read whatever comes up on their news app, but older generations (Baby boomers) are more likely to be loyal to particular publications.
What articles / publications do Brits trust?
Generally, Brits are more likely to trust1 than distrust2 local and national news. This is particularly prevalent when looking at local news as Brits are 3x more likely to say they trust1 local news than not2 trust local news. Furthermore, respondents are more likely to trust1 than distrust2 lifestyle magazines/websites (47% vs 31%), trade/business magazines (47% vs 26%) and international news sites/papers (54% vs 28%). The exception here was entertainment sites, where a slightly higher percentage of distrust2 than trust1 them (39% vs 38%).
In terms of what builds trust, the top four aspects that contribute to Brits trusting news/articles are:
- It is from well-known type of publication (e.g., National news) (36%)
- The article references a quote from an authoritative person/professional (e.g., police officer, psychologist etc.) (29%)
- The article was shared by someone you trust (e.g., family or friends) (20%)
- The article references stats and numbers (18%).
Articles that reference stats and numbers as a way to build trust particularly resonates with Millennials/Gen Y respondents (21%) and Gen z/iGen (19%).
Don’t underestimate the importance of stats
Over 9 million3 Brits say that articles that reference stats and numbers contribute to them trusting it. Further demonstrating the importance of stats is found in the fact that a striking 58% of respondents who read news/articles are likely4 to read articles that have stats or figures around something happening in the news at that time. Converting someone from reading an article to sharing it can be difficult, but almost 3 in 5 (57%) Brits are likely4 to share articles with friends or family that have stats and numbers to back up the point. Across the generations, Millennials/Gen Y (70%) and Gen z/iGen (68%) surveyed have high majorities of respondents who say they are likely4 to share articles that have stats and numbers to back up the point – demonstrating this is perhaps particularly important for engaging with younger audiences when it comes to sharing news.
Further adding to this point (that younger generations are more likely4 to share articles that have stats and numbers), breathes further life into explaining why younger generations perhaps have a better understanding of media and the false nature of the internet, and why older generations are more likely to be easily fooled into consuming media that is unreliable and factually not true.
Research conducted in 2022 which explored ‘The psychology of the internet fraud victimization of older adults’ 10 provides insight as to why older generations are perhaps less likely to be susceptible of the media. This research concluded that ‘‘…factors of older adult victims of internet fraud is mainly based on the cognitive deterioration of older adults (Vishwanath et al., 2011; Han et al., 2015, 2016). Physiological aging is accompanied by cognitive aging. Some studies have found that in the absence of any obvious neurological or psychiatric diseases, older adults show a systemic decline in memory, processing speed, problem-solving ability, mathematical skills, linguistic ability, and executive function (Felson and Cohen, 1980; Murphy et al., 2006; Kvavilashvili et al., 2009; Ebner et al., 2020)’’. ‘’The ability to accurately identify online fraud information is grounded in a high level of cognitive function.’’
Cognitive deterioration may therefore play a part in older generations being less likely to share articles that have statistics to back up their points, as they would have less awareness or function to look deeper whether something is a scam or not. It’s not unheard of that older generations have, in recent years, been more susceptible to post office, credit card, and email scams.
Our findings can therefore help further the argument that older generations are more susceptible to being fooled by the media, and efforts should be more towards older generations to increase awareness of the power of PR and the media.
The power of PR and media
Building trust with a prospective customer can be extremely difficult – if they have not experienced your offering, how can you create trust? PR is a powerful tool in gaining trust, as demonstrated by the finding that over 19 million5 Brits trust a brand more when they see it mentioned in a publication. Younger generations such as Millennials/Gen Y (49%) and Gen z/iGen (49%) particularly place more6 trust in brands when they are mentioned in publications.
It’s not just trust that can be built from a media profile, however, but also notability and relevancy. Indeed, just over 2 in 5 (41%) Brits agree7 that a brand mentioned in a publication will be a well-known brand while nearly 2 in 5 (37%) Brits agree7 that a brand mentioned in a publication will be a reliable brand. Again, this particular resonates with a Gen z/iGen audience.
Given the link between media mentions and trust, notability and reliability has been demonstrated, it’s perhaps no surprise that just over 3 in 5 (61%) Brits surveyed look8 for articles on a specific brand before purchasing from them. In fact, under a fifth (19%) say they never do this. Gen Z (75%) and millennials (75%) are the most likely of the generations to frequently, regularly or sometimes look for articles on a specific brand before purchasing from them.
Overall, the data clearly demonstrates the importance and power of PR and media for building trust with consumers and even converting awareness to purchase.
Research Carried out by Censuswide, 24/05/23 – 26/05/23, on 2010 nationally representative UK respondents.
1’completely trust’ and ‘somewhat trust’ responses combined.
2’do not trust’ and ‘do not trust at all’ responses combined.
3calculated using the ONS population figure for (16+ 54,098,97). 17.61% of 54,098,971 = 9,526,828
4’very likely’ and ‘somewhat likely’ responses combined.
5calculated using the ONS population figure for (16+ 54,098,97). 35.72% of 54,098,971 = 19,324,152
6’yes, I trust the brand significantly more’ and ‘yes, I trust the brand somewhat more’ responses combined.
7‘strongly agree’ and ‘Somewhat agree’ answers combined.
8’frequently’, ‘regularly’, and ‘sometimes’ responses combined.
9’much more likely’, ‘somewhat more likely’ responses combined.
10https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9484557/ – Shang Y, Wu Z, Du X, Jiang Y, Ma B, Chi M. The psychology of the internet fraud victimization of older adults: A systematic review. Front Psychol. 2022 Sep 5