NEWS | 6 Feb 2017

Quick news fixes are making the Danes dizzy

The DR Audience Research Department annually publishes a report on the use of electronic media in Denmark. Media Development 2016 is now available, and one of its main points is that quick news fixes are making the Danes dizzy.

The Danes watch the news to an enormous extent. While the printed newspapers’ readership figures are on the decline, and the consumption of news on the radio and TV is relatively stable, Internet news consumption continues to rise. Three out of five Danes currently receive their news on smartphones, tablets or PCs at least every day, and by far most of them do so several times a day.

"Unlike the radio, which is listened to the most during the daytime, and TV, which is mainly watched during the evening, the consumption of online news - in particular on smartphones - has no prime time. The news is nowadays something most of us receive in a steady stream, from when we get up to when we go to bed," writes Henrik Gregor Knudsen og Lene Heiselberg in Media Development 2016.

In visiting the various online news sources, consumers are in search of a quick fix. They describe their behaviour as erratic, superficial and fleeting, emphasising the fact that they only manage to read the headlines and look at the pictures. Consumers typically take a news trip when they are on a break or in need of distraction. Although the news is used to pass the time or for procrastination, this is not at all perceived as a sin. News users feel that they are using their breaks and breathing spaces in a sensible way

However, news consumers also point out the disadvantages to their repeated and erratic news fixes. Some have the sensation of finding themselves in the middle of a whirlwind of news, in which they may easily become disoriented. Several news users point out that they do not reach a level where they understand what the news is about, since it is overview and not comprehension that takes priority.

The erratic use of digital news should be seen as a contrast to the use of the news that is characterised by deeper understanding, analysis and perspective. The two types of news consumption exist side by side and the erratic use of digital news does not remove the need for deeper understanding. The fact that the erratic use of the news is not in direct competition with the more classical news consumption is demonstrated by the remarkably strong continued status of the omnibus transmissions on DR1 and TV 2, despite a general decline in traditional TV.

Other findings

Among the other findings in the report you can find:

  • Traditional TV consumption fell by 15 minutes in 2016, but Danes continue to spend 2 hours and 38 minutes in front of the television every day. Streaming services are eroding traditional TV usage and challenging the way we both measure and talk about TV.
  • After a slight increase in 2015, radio listening time fell again in 2016. Despite competition from streaming services and social media, radio listening is still strong and there are indications that listeners have become more adaptable.
  • There has never been as much sport on TV as in 2016. But although consumption has risen over recent years, it is still a long way behind the number of broadcasting hours, which has more than doubled since 2012.
  • Videos are becoming increasing popular on social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, but by far the majority of the videos are viewed without sound.

The Media Development 2016 report (English version) can be downloaded at DR's website.

Direct link to PDF-report







BY: Mogens V. Kjeldsen