The internet has been gobbling up traditional media outlets’ market share since it first started to make an impact on our lives, and in the modern age of tablet computers, smartphones and an always-connected society, the day of the newspaper could soon be behind us.
Research from Ofcom found that websites and apps have now overtaken newspapers in popularity. A nationwide poll revealed that currently 40% of people use newspapers to keep up to date with current affairs, but slightly more – 41% – use apps and websites to do so.
This difference is admittedly not particularly marked, but it represents the first time Ofcom research has shown online news to be more popular than newspapers, and reveals a massive growth in the popularity of online news; in 2013, only 32% of people said they got their news over the internet. Furthermore, while 14% said that an app or website is their most important news source in 2013, this rose to 21% this year.
Online news sources are also now more popular than news on the radio – only 36% of people said they use the radio to catch up on the news. However, internet news sites still have a long way to go if they are to overtake the popularity of the television, with 75% of people saying they watch TV to follow the news.
Young people are particularly likely to take out their smartphones and tablets to read the news – while just 4% of people over the age of 55 consume the news through their mobile phone, and 7% do so with a tablet, these figures rise to 40% and 14% respectively among people aged 16 to 24. This is despite the fact that 10% of 16 to 24-year-olds admitted that they didn’t follow the news at all, compared with just 3% of over-55s and 5% amongst all adults.