NEWS | 25 Jun 2014

Digital News Report 2014

In Finland, Denmark and the UK, traditional brands still dominate online news while pure players and social media have made comparatively few inroads. This is revealed in a report on online news consumption from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

The Digital News Report 2014 is the third annual report looking to track and compare changes in online news consumption across countries. This year’s report looks at ten countries, of which two are Nordic: Denmark, included from the start in 2012; and Finland, which joined in 2014. The other countries included in the study are the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the US, Brazil and Japan.

Increasing news consumption via smartphones
The past year has seen rapid growth in both mobile and tablet use for news. On average, over a third of the survey’s global sample (37%) is accessing news from a smartphone each week, and one in five (20%) from a tablet. Denmark led the way already in 2013 and has now surged further ahead, with 52% of the sample using a smartphone and 34% using a tablet for news on a weekly basis. Correspondent figures for Finland are 41% using a smartphone and 23% a tablet for news, which is closer to the average but still comparatively high.

A fifth of online news users (20%) across all countries now say their mobile phone is their primary access point for news; in Denmark this figure is 24% and in Finland 15%.

Strong traditional brands in Denmark and Finland
The habits associated with news discovery vary greatly across the countries in the survey. Denmark and Finland, together with the UK, are countries with strong news brands, where online users tend to start their journey with a trusted news provider. The picture is different elsewhere, with, e.g., search as the main gateway in France, Germany, Italy, the US and Brazil.

The Danish media environment is characterized by a combination of strong domestic broadcasters and newspapers. The two public broadcasters DR and TV 2, together with national press – the two tabloids Ekstrabladet and BT in particular – are the most used sources of online news. Social media, which are widely used in Denmark, seem to play a limited role as a way of accessing news: a third of the sample use Facebook for news on a weekly basis, but only 4-5% use other social networks for this purpose.

The media environment in Finland is characterized by a strong regional press. Online news usage is dominated by the two afternoon tabloids Ilta-Sanomat and Ilta-Lehti. The largest national daily, Helsingin Sanomat, and the two large domestic broadcasters, MTV and YLE, follow. Social networks are used for news here to a higher extent than in Denmark: 36% of the sample says they use Facebook for news each week, and 12% Google+. In Finland there are also two important local networks, the news aggregator Ampparit (12% use weekly for news) and the most popular general discussion forum Suomi 24 (8%).

More key findings
Read the full report to learn more about key findings, such as: still only one of ten in the global sample pays for online news – but more of these are now subscribers; new kinds of journalistic organizations are emerging; and the different behaviours of young and old are becoming more pronounced.

Digital News 2014, full report

Explore the 2014 data at the interactive site

About the methodology: The report is based on an online survey – and as such the results will underrepresent the consumption habits of people who are not online (typically older, less affluent, and with limited formal education). The core purpose of the survey is not to deliver absolute numbers, but rather to track the activities and changes over time within the digital space – as well as gain an understanding of how offline and online media are used together.