This year’s report comes amid intense soul-searching in the news industry about fake news, failing business models, and the power of platforms.
Fake News, business models and the power of the social media platforms, dominate the 2017 Digital News Report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.
This is the most comprehensive and significant annual report on the state of the global news industry.
More than 70,000 people in 36 countries are surveyed. Since its inception six years ago, this report edited by Nic Newman, has grown to become the definitive guide for journalists, publishers and media houses all over the world.
The reason it’s so important is that in the past – it’s been so good at recognising the trends in news and providing solutions to the many problems.
So here are a few of the main points to emerge this year;
- Trust in the media is at a dangerous low. This is partly due to the distribution of fake news on social platforms – but also the perception of political bias in the mainstream media. There is good news for the BBC however. In this atmosphere of confusion, trust in the respected news brands goes from strength to strength.
- Social platforms have begun to plateau in the distribution of news, while the success of messaging apps have seen huge growth. In several markets the use of WhatsApp for news is beginning to rival Facebook.
- Mobile continues to grow. It will surprise no one that mobile news consumption is up, but it is not only on the move that this is happening. There’s been a big increase in the use of mobile at home – especially in the bathroom and bedroom. More people now access news in bed than on the daily commute.
- There’s some optimism for the digital business models. Native adverting, online subscriptions and a decline in ad-blocking have seen an increase in the number of users paying for content. This varies widely in different parts of the world, but there has been a surge in the US from 9% to 16% of people willing to pay for news.
It is fascinating to see how the different markets and consumer habits play out around the world and the way in which many of the mainstream media houses are adapting to the changing landscape. 2017 promises to be another momentous year for the digital news industry. A year that will no doubt see the rise the more agile and the failure of the less reactive.