Facebook influences news consumption

09 November 2011

LONDON: Facebook is now a more widely-used news source than paid-for newspapers among UK youth, a new study has shown.

Lightspeed Research found that 30% of 18 to 34-year-olds people use Facebook to get news during a typical week, while a hard core of 9% see the social network as their "main source" of finding out what is going on in the world.

Meanwhile, just 22% get their news from free newspapers and 27% use paid-for newspapers at least once a week.

TV was the most-popular single news source, with 69% of youngsters using it weekly. But 16% said they do not watch the TV news at all.

Facebook was far less popular as a news source among older generations, and was used for this purpose by just 8% of 35 to 54-year-olds and 3% of 55 to 64-year-olds.

Across all age groups, the most popular news source was TV, with a majority (53%) of the older age groups saying it was their main source of news.

"What is revealing in this research is how the social networking phenomenon is impacting news consumption for everyone," said Ralph Risk, marketing director of Lightspeed Research Europe.

"This research also illustrates... how important it is for media outlets to understand how consumers want to gather news and adapt their routes to their brand if they are to retain and attract readers."

The report also offered more granular data of what time of day people got their news from their social media profile.

Across all age groups, the highest level of activity was seen during the evening, with 10% of users getting news from Facebook during this time.

This proportion fell to 4% during the daily commute, and 3% for first thing in the morning.

Data sourced from Lightspeed Research; additional content by Warc staff