ITV regional bulletins are seen as the best quality provider of local news, ahead of the BBC, according to survey data released by Ofcom.
Some 86 per cent of people who follow local news said they were “satisfied” with the quality of regional bulletins on ITV, 2 per cent more than said the same about BBC’s TV and radio bulletins across the UK.
- December 18, 2019
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However Ofcom said it was unable to say such a small difference was statistically significant, saying “the findings are broadly comparable”.
A spokesperson added that more people use BBC for local news than ITV (48 per cent compared to 32 per cent) so when comparing absolute numbers rather than proportion of viewers, the BBC would have a higher quality rating.
Local and regional newspapers received a 79 per cent satisfaction rate in print and 73 per cent online – ahead of social media on 72 per cent.
Ofcom, the UK broadcast regulator, commissioned a poll of more than 4,000 UK adults, defined as aged 16 and over, to discover their news consumption habits as part of its annual survey on the topic.
Researchers conducted 2,430 online interviews and 2,188 face-to-face interviews in November to December 2017 and March to April 2018.
The survey contained up to 237 questions. The results were then weighted and made to match population profiles for UK nations.
Press Gazette has carried out its own analysis of the raw data released by Ofcom.
Asked which local news source was their “most used”, more people (38 per cent) said TV than any other medium.
Print newspapers followed on 14 per cent, ahead of social media (8 per cent on mobile and 6 per cent on desktop/tablet).
Other internet sources, including news websites, follow on 11 per cent, with radio on 10 per cent. Just 7 per cent of those who follow news said they were not interested in stories about their local area.
But, when people were able to choose multiple platforms and were prompted with a longer list of possible sources, local and regional print newspapers came out ahead of social media with nearly one fifth (23 per cent) of people using them compared to 16 per cent using social media.
However a report commissioned ahead of the Government’s Cairncross Review into the sustainability of the local press has revealed that a quarter of all regional and local newspapers have closed in the past decade.
Overall the use of news websites and apps has risen in the past year as the proportion of people getting their news from social media has dropped, according to the Ofcom survey.
Among those who said they use the internet for news, the majority (61 per cent) said they use the websites or apps of broadcasters, like the BBC or Sky.
Almost half (49 per cent) now say they get news from newspapers’ websites or apps, while online-only news organisations, like Buzzfeed and Huffpost, are used by 16 per cent of people.
Although the numbers using social media for news have dropped from 42 per cent in 2016 to 37 per cent, more people now use search engines like Google to find stories (up from 36 per cent to 48 per cent).
However the methodology and questionnaire of the annual News Consumption Survey changed this year, meaning the figures are not directly comparable.
At the start of this year, Facebook changed its news feed algorithm to prioritise posts from friends and family over updates from publishers, which experts described as “deeply significant” for the news industry.
Among adults who use social media for news, 76 per cent now get it from Facebook followed by 32 per cent on Twitter, 22 per cent on Whatsapp and 21 per cent on Instagram.
Of those who said they get news stories through Facebook, just under a third (29 per cent) actively follow traditional newsbrands, while 17 per cent follow online-only titles like Buzzfeed.
The survey also found that 10 per cent of respondents who use social media for news also actively follow journalists or public figures on the platform.
TV remains the dominant source of news in the UK, being used by 79 per cent of adults, while the use of the internet for news is on 64 per cent.
Radio is used by 44 per cent of people for news and 40 per cent use printed newspapers.
The survey also broke down which platforms people use for different types of news, showing that TV remains by far the most popular source of breaking news – even ahead of social media.
Among adults who follow news, 45 per cent said TV was where they turned most often to find out about breaking news, ahead of social media (12 per cent on mobile and 8 per cent on desktop/tablet).
Some 10 per cent of those surveyed most often found out about breaking news from other internet sources on desktop/tablet, including newspaper websites and apps, and 8 per cent on mobile.
Fewer people, just 5 per cent on mobile and 5 per cent on desktop/tablet, visit social media first when they want in-depth analysis of the news, while 28 per cent said they were not interested in this type of content.
TV is still used most often (31 per cent) for in-depth analysis, followed by other internet sources (10 per cent on desktop/tablet and 4 per cent on mobile) and print newspapers (11 per cent).