Among other things, the delayed Online Safety Bill contains provisions aiming to deal with disinformation.  Against this background, Ofcom has published its UK news consumption report for 2022. It considers news consumption across television, radio, print, social media, podcasts, other websites/apps and magazines. It is part of a range of reports examining the consumption of content, and attitudes towards that content, across different platforms.

The aim of the report is to inform understanding of news consumption across the UK and within each UK Nation. This includes sources and platforms used, the perceived importance of different outlets for news, attitudes towards individual news sources, international and local news use.

This report also provides an understanding of current affairs consumption among adults and news consumption among 12-15 year olds.

The key findings from the report are:

  • TikTok’s reach for news has increased from 2020 (1%) to 2022 (7%). Half of its user base (for news) are aged 16-24.
  • Reach of TV (74%), and internet (66%) platforms remains steady. There is some evidence of longer term erosion of radio reach (40% in 2022 down from 44% in 2018).
  • Different age groups consume news very differently; younger age groups are much more likely to use the internet and social media for news, whereas their older counterparts favour print, radio and TV.
  • Reach of print/online newspapers has seen a decrease from 2020 (47%) to 2022 (38%). The decrease is driven by decreases in print (online newspaper reach remains steady) which have likely been exacerbated by the pandemic.
  • Five of the top six TV channels (including BBC One which remains the top news source across platforms) saw decreased reach from 2021 among online adults.
  • Attitudes towards news generally remain consistent with 2020 (across measures such as quality, accuracy, trustworthiness and impartiality) for TV, radio, social media, newspapers and online, with TV performing strongest, and social media performing least well.
  • Social media is overtaking traditional channels for news among teens. Instagram, TikTok and YouTube are now their top three most used sources for news (including news outlets’ social media pages). Meanwhile many sources have seen decreases since 2021, with reach of BBC One/Two decreasing to 24% in 2022 (down from 35% in 2021).

Another key finding was that teenagers consider family a trustworthy source of news (but not friends). Many avoid the news, for various reasons including bias, not understanding it, or finding it too negative.  Many of these shifts in behaviour are fundamental to news consumption and outlets need to reflect them in their coverage.