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Britain's changing news media landscape: a briefing

Social Media Use
Researchers: Kirby Swales
Published: January 2018

Based on the British Social Attitudes survey, our latest briefing takes a look at how the British public consume news - and examines the winners and losers of a rapidly-changing media landscape.

Read the briefing

 

Our key findings

  • The research shows a striking - if not surprising - decline in newspaper readership. In 1983, 77% of respondents said that they read a newspaper three times a week or more. By 2016, that figure had shrunk to 28%.
  • In general, older readers are much more likely to remain loyal to print media. 53% of people over the age of 75 read a daily newspaper, compared to 17% of 18-to-24 year-olds.
  • The decline in newspaper readership has varied widely from publication to publication. (For example: in 1983, the best-read paper was the Daily Mirror, regularly consumed by 18% of the British adult population. By 2016, just 2% of the population were regularly reading the Mirror.)
  • Since 2010, the number of people getting their news online has doubled to 40% of the population - but television remains stable as Britain's main source of news.
  • The BBC dominates online news: in 2016, 49% of respondents said that they visited the BBC website more often than any other news site. (The Daily Mail, Sky, and The Guardian were runners-up.)
  • In general, there were a number of interesting demographic breakdowns in the nation's news consumption. Most notably, 54% people with managerial or professorial occupations read the news online every day - compared with 26% of people in routine or semi-routine occupations.

 

 BSA Briefing Note Chart 7

Britain's changing news media landscape