News consumption analysis during coronavirus

Censuswide has conducted a three round media consumption narrative report to find trends across national media habits - research was conducted in March, April and May 2020. Their third round of research finds that despite an average increase in media consumption, some Brits are avoiding the news due to anxiety.

Unsurprisingly, the main reason people are reading the news more is to keep up-to-date with the coronavirus situation, which came out top in all three surveys (75% in the latest survey). What is interesting though, is that Britain is now seeing a decrease in this percentage, which perhaps suggests the beginning of coronavirus fatigue. Meanwhile, there is a consistent increase in those reading the news because they have more spare time (45%) and because they want some good news (24%).

However 1 in 10 respondents are reading less than usual. Interestingly, the only consistent decrease for why respondents are reading the news less, is because they find the news scary, which could suggest people are becoming accustomed to news on the pandemic. However, it’s worth noting that the news is still making people anxious.

Interestingly, stories backed up with data have taken the top spot of what Brits want to see covered. With a lot of information out there to navigate, perhaps it’s the facts and figures that the public now look to. Meanwhile, respondents wanting more information about the coronavirus has seen a big drop from 41% in round 2 to 34% in round 3.

From the data, Censuswide believes that the general public is still very much reliant on the media and journalism to keep them up-to-date but are also wary of what they are reading and want to avoid misinformation.

The top types of publications Brits are reading at least once a week continues to be national news, local news and international news. We are seeing an increase as time goes on for national news, while local and international consumption has been moving up and down although not by much.

In addition, from the respondents who are reading publications at least once a week, almost 3 in 5 (58%) said they are reading these more than before the pandemic. Censuswide's latest research shows that almost three quarters (72%) of 16-24-year olds* surveyed are reading more of these publications than they usually do, which has risen from 40% in the last survey. The same goes for those aged 55+, 50% of whom are doing the same.

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