TV grows in popularity as preferred source of news


More people than ever turn on their Televisions to find out what’s going on in the world, while the number who read newspapers for international, national and regional news has continued to fall, according to an Independent Television Commission survey.

With ITV still the UK’s favourite channel, television continues to be the most popular source of news, with 84 per cent of people asked by the ITC citing TV among their top three choices, compared with 52 per cent who mentioned newspapers and 33 per cent who listed radio.

Television was chosen by 72 per cent of those surveyed for the year 2000 as their favourite source of world news, while 13 per cent said they read newspapers and 9 per cent said they listened to the radio.

The popularity of newspapers was at an all-time low – just under half the number who said in 1987 that they were their first choice for news.

But fewer people who took part in the survey of UK viewing habits chose TV as their main choice for local news after a high of 40 per cent in the two previous years.

The survey, Television: The Public’s View, shows that radio has gained in popularity, with 16 per cent naming g it their favourite source of local news, compared with 12 per cent in 1987.

Overall, the popularity of television as a source of local news has increased since 1987 when 19 per cent said it was their first choice.

Local newspapers were at that time the most popular, with 56 per cent listing them first, but they began to lose ground soon after, becoming the favoured source of news among 31 per cent of those surveyed in 2000.

News, both local and regional as well as national and international, came top of the list of programmes people were most interested in watching. Interest in current affairs increased, with 54 per cent rating programmes highly, compared to 49 per cent the previous year.

Business and financial programmes were of interest to 25 per cent of viewers and programmes about politics scored highly among 23 per cent, compared to 20 per cent the year before.

When asked to list their top eight channels, 88 per cent chose ITV and 87 per cent chose BBC1. BBC2, Channel 4 and Channel 5 featured in the top eight of 64, 60 and 36 per cent respectively of those surveyed.

Sky News and Sky Sports were in the top eight of 8 per cent of viewers asked, while Eurosport was listed by 4 per cent and BBC News 24 by 2 per cent.

By Julie Tomlin

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