|Chart of the week: Despite digital age physical books still reign supreme
||Three-quarters of people in the UK still read physical books rather than their digital equivalents, according to estimates from the Copyright Infringement Tracker.
Despite the widespread prevalence and preference for digital forms of media, physical books were able to maintain their decisive majority in 2018. TV and music are the two types of media most often consumed digitally by UK residents, with about 95 per cent of people watching TV digitally, while roughly nine out of ten respondents listened to music digitally. People played video games digitally a little under half the time, which was the only media that came close to the dominance of physical books.
The Copyright Infringement Tracker extrapolated poll results to estimate the volume of digital and physical media consumed by people in the UK. Overall, they estimated that each medium registered a slight decline in overall consumption. Television was the only exception, where consumption is projected to have risen from 145 million in 2017 to 160 million in 2018, mostly driven by digital formats.
|Chart of the week: Facebook remains a major gateway to online news
||Despite the scandals Facebook has been entangled with over the past 12 months, the world’s largest social network remains a popular source of news for Americans, far ahead of any other social network.
According to survey data published by the Pew Research Center, 43 per cent of US adults get news on Facebook at least occasionally, with YouTube (21 per cent) and Twitter (12 per cent) the second and third most popular social platforms for news.
In light of this year’s revelations about false information deliberately and systematically spread via social media, it’s no surprise that news consumption on social media didn’t grow any further this year. According to Pew’s findings, 20 per cent of American adults get news on social media often, while 27 per cent do so sometimes, both unchanged from 2017.
Interestingly, more than half of social media news consumers expect the news they see there to be largely inaccurate. So why bother in the first place, one might ask? According to the survey, it’s the convenience of getting news on social media that people like most about it. But does that outweigh the disadvantages of inaccurate information? To some it does apparently.
|Chart of the week: Poor journalism more prevalent than actual fake news?
||Sparked by reports uncovering the systematic spreading of false information on the internet to influence elections and fuelled by US President Trump’s distrust and hatred of the media, the debate over “fake news” and misinformation has been one of the most important issues of the past year.
According to the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2018, 54 per cent of global news consumers are very or extremely concerned about what is real and what is fake on the internet when it comes to news and only 44 per cent of the more than 70,000 respondents think that most news is trustworthy.
However, it may not be what is often referred to as “fake news”, i.e. completely fabricated stories spread for commercial or political reasons, that hurts trust in the news media the most. According to Reuters’ findings, poor journalism, e.g. factual mistakes, dumbed down stories or clickbait, are the most commonly perceived form of misinformation. Forty-two per cent of all respondents reported having been exposed to examples of poor journalism in the past week, while only 26 per cent had come across stories completely made up for political or commercial gain.
|Chart of the week: Americans' trust in media recovers from historic low
||Often referred to as the “Fourth Estate”, the media plays an important role in any democratic society. A free press is essential to hold governments accountable and inform the public, thus enabling voters to partake in political debate and make qualified decisions.
The United States also has a long history of a free and independent press, with organisations such as the New York Times, Time or CNN renowned and respected around the world. however, in recent years Americans themselves started losing faith in their country’s media organisations. Arguably inspired by a president who makes no secret of his aversion to the press, the percentage of US adults having a great deal or a fair amount of trust and confidence in mass media dropped to a historic low of 30 per cent in 2016. While President Trump recently renewed his denunciation of the media as “the true enemy of the people”, the public view of mass media is gradually improving from its 2016 low point.
According to polling company Gallup, 45 per cent of adults in the US expressed their trust in the mass media in a September 2018 survey, marking a significant improvement over the 2016 outcome of the same survey. Gallup reports that the level of trust in the media varies greatly depending on political preference. While Republicans have traditionally viewed the media more critically than Democrats, the divergence between both sides of the political spectrum has never been greater in terms of how the press is regarded – a trend mirroring a political climate that seems more hostile and divided than ever.
|Chart of the week: Podcast listeners are young, educated and affluent
||The rise in popularity of podcasts hasn’t gone unnoticed by the advertising industry. According to estimates by IAB and PwC, podcast advertising revenue in the US will reach USD$400 million this year and grow to more than $650 million by 2020.
One of the reasons for brands’ growing fondness of podcast advertising is the unique audience they can reach via the increasingly popular format. As the following chart, based on survey results from Edison Research, shows, podcast listeners in the US are younger, more educated and richer compared to the general population. For example, 51 per cent of monthly podcasts listeners have an annual household income of at least $75k, compared to just 38 per cent of the population. The same holds true for educational attainment: 61 per cent of podcast fans have completed at least four years of college, compared to 44 per cent of the entire population.
Podcasts give brands a chance to get their message across to an attractive audience that is otherwise hard to reach and to do it in a way that is personal and feels less intrusive than other forms of advertising. Most podcast ads are read by the host, which has the positive side-effect of projecting the host’s credibility onto the advertised product/service.
|Chart of the week: Subscriptions lead digital content spending
||Throughout the past decade, one of the key challenges for content owners and publishers has been how to get people to pay for digital content that they were used to getting for free.
To this day, many people are unwilling to pay for access to a news website, while they have no problem buying print media. The lack of a physical, haptic product seems to diminish the perceived value of digital content, notwithstanding the fact that media is mostly consumed digitally these days.
One way of getting people to pay for digital content is to create a product/service that takes advantage of its digital nature by offering something that no physical product could. Take music streaming services for example: for a modest monthly fee, subscribers get access to millions and millions of songs, creating a service whose advantages clearly outweigh the disadvantage of not owning an actual record, at least for most consumers.
As the following chart shows, based on data from Statista’s Global Consumer Survey, subscription services are currently the most popular way of consuming paid digital content in the US and the UK. While digital distribution has become the new norm for music and video content, the willingness to pay for digital news content is still limited. Interestingly, Americans appear to be more open to spending money on digital content than Brits across all categories.
|Chart of the week: News pages are abandoning third-party ad trackers
||The GDPR is changing how advertisement performance is tracked on European news sites.
According to a study by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism the usage of third-party cookies decreased in Europe by 22 per cent per page while third-party domains decreased by four perc ent since the GDPR became enforceable. However, reactions to new data regulations highly differ from country to country: In Germany for example habits did not really change while in France and the UK marketing decision makers decide to purge these tracking methods.
|Chart of the week: By 2021 more than one third of the globe will be on social media
||Social media is a phenomenon that has first been open to the masses since the launch of platforms like Myspace in the early 2000s. Since then social networks offered a playground for billions of people to share, exchange and discuss content and ideas.
As the big players in the IT scene manage to set foot in even more remote regions of our planet, they accelerate our world’s development to a global village by bringing access to social networks.
Currently there are more than an estimated 2.62 billion people connected via different social networks, by 2021 the number will rise to over three billion, resembling over one third of the global population.
|Chart of the week: Social media users notice spam increase
||With ongoing discussions about social media’s role in the spread of fake news and hate speech, user awareness about the responsibility of tech giants to manage these problems also rise.
Even though Facebook and Twitter recently introduced steps to keep their platforms clean, 47 per cent of respondents of a survey conducted by Hubspot perceived their social media feeds to be more spam-loaded in recent months.
This might be due to Facebook’s definition of spam which reads a bit vaguely and does not include for instance fake news. However, 79 per cent of all internet users polled agree that fake news counts as spam.
|Chart of the week: Instagram, not Snapchat, is the platform of the hour
||Every couple of years a new platform comes around and once it reaches a certain degree of popularity, marketers, advertisers and publishers have no choice but to adapt to the new reality.
While the rise of Facebook certainly was the most seismic shift the media landscape has seen in the past decade, other platforms have also grown into indispensable tools for brands and publishers.
For large parts of the past two years, it seemed like Snapchat would be the next platform that no one could afford to ignore. Having quickly gained popularity it only seemed like a matter of time before it would break through to the mainstream and compete with the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. However, over the past 12 months Snapchat’s growth has slowed significantly and many people are beginning to ask whether the once innovative social media app was nothing more than a passing fad.