NEWS | 28 Jun 2015

Digital News Report 2015

In Denmark and Finland traditional brands still dominate online news, but search and social media are growing. These are some findings in a new report on online news consumption by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

The Digital News Report 2015 is the fourth annual report looking to track and compare changes in online news consumption across countries. It looks at twelve countries, among which the Nordic countries Denmark and Finland are included. The other countries are the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Ireland, the US, Brazil, Japan and Australia.

A surge in the use of mobile for news, a sharp increase in the use of social media for news and low interest in paying for news are some of the findings. The report also shows very different patterns of online news access across the countries.

The central role of the smartphone
Last year’s report pointed at a rapid growth in both mobile phone and tablet use for news. The 2015 report finds even more evidence concerning the central role being played by smartphones. The growth in tablet use for news, however, has weakened in most countries.

Almost half, 46 per cent, of the global sample use smartphones to access news on a weekly basis, which is an increase from 37 per cent last year. The Danes are avid users, 57 per cent use a smartphone on a weekly basis – only Australia’s 59 per cent is higher. The corresponding figure for Finland is 50 per cent, which is closer to the average but still comparatively high.

On average, a quarter of the sample across all countries says the smartphone is their main device for accessing digital news. In Finland this figure is 24 per cent, which is a considerable growth from 15 per cent in 2014, and in Denmark it is 28 per cent (24 per cent last year).

Sharp increase in use of social media for news
Social media, messaging apps, email and mobile notifications are becoming an increasingly important route to news. Among social media, Facebook is becoming a more and more dominant player, with 41 per cent finding, reading, watching, sharing or discussing news via Facebook each week. Also Facebook-owned Instagram and WhatsApp play a major role amongst younger groups.

Facebook is the top social media platform in both Denmark and Finland, but there are differences. In Denmark, 44 per cent use Facebook for news on a weekly basis, an increase from 31 per cent last year. In Finland the corresponding figure is 35 per cent, which is stable compared with last year. In Denmark, Facebook is followed by other global networks, while in Finland a domestic chat network, Suomo24, also enters the list, ranking third with 7 per cent of weekly news users.

Branded websites strong in Denmark and Finland
The report shows very different patterns of online news access across the countries. In Finland and Denmark, together with the UK, branded websites are often the starting point for any news journey (63, 54 and 52 per cent weekly use, respectively). The picture is different elsewhere, with, e.g., a search engine being the main gateway in Italy, Spain, France and Germany.

Search and social media are, however, growing as news starting points in Denmark and Finland as well. In Denmark, the share using search media on a weekly basis increased from 15 per cent to 29 per cent, while Finland remained stable at 26 per cent. Social media as starting points for news have grown in both countries: in Denmark use more than doubled from 16 per cent to 38 per cent and in Finland it grew from 24 to 28 per cent.

The number of people paying for digital news remains low. Even though Finns and Danes are the most willing to pay for news, only 14 per cent pay for news in Finland and 13 per cent in Denmark. (The lowest is in the UK, where 6 per cent pay for news.)

More key findings
Read the full report to learn more about key findings, such as: significant growth in video news consumption online, decline in desktop Internet, country differences in trust in the media, and increased competition from global digital brands.

Digital News 2015, full report online
Explore the 2015 data at the interactive site
Country report Finland (University of Tampere)


About the methodology: Important to note about the survey sample is that because this survey deals with news consumption, anyone indicating they had not consumed any news during the past month was filtered out. 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 to track activities and changes over time within the digital space – as well as to gain an understanding of how offline and online media are used together. The research was conducted by YouGov using an online questionnaire at the end of January/beginning of February 2015.