According to new figures from Ofcom,
digital news is now as popular as newspapers for the first time, with some 41%
of people reporting that they now access news on websites and apps.
However, TV remains that most popular
choice for consuming the news, although the figure dropped slightly from last
year with a reported 75% tuning in in 2014 compared to 78% in 2013. The number
of people who said that TV is the most important news source also dropped this
year with just 54% citing it as most important compared to 62% in 2013.
The figures are up significantly from 2013,
when just 32% of people said that they use the web to read the news. 40% of
people said that they still read newspapers to follow world events, which is
the same number as in 2013.
The research is set out in Ofcom’s News
Consumption in the UK report, which also found that listening to the
radio as a means of finding out the news has now also been overtaken by the web
and apps, with just 36% of people choosing to consume news this way.
The surge in using the internet or apps to
consume the news is being driven by younger people between the ages of 16-24,
the report said. In 2013, 45% of younger people said that they use the
internet for news, which rose to 60% in 2014.
Further to this, 45% of young people said
that they believe the internet or apps to be the most important news source, a
figure that has again risen this year from 30% in 2013.
When to comes to watching news on TV, older
people were more likely to watch more with the over 55s consuming an average of
196 hours of TV news each year. Young people on the other hand reported
watching just 27 hours of TV news each year, which is 88 less hours than the
average UK adult, who watched 115 hours per year.
Ofcom said that the rise in digital news is
being driven primarily by the use of smartphones and tablets amongst young
people, who are ten times more likely than the over 55s to access news on
mobile and twice as likely on tablet devices.
Whilst one in ten young people reported not
following the news, more young people in 2014 said that they catch up on the
news to pass the time whilst on the go.
When it came to why people follow the news,
the top three reasons given by UK adults were to know what’s happening in the
world, to catch up with news in the UK and to find out what’s going on in their
local area. Older people were more likely to give more reasons for following
the news suggesting that the highest level of engagement is in the over 55s.