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Millennials drive online news usage

News, 12 October 2015

LONDON/NEW YORK: UK millennials spend more than half their "news time" reading newsbrands in both print and digital formats, while half of their US peers regularly use paid new content.

The latest Touchpoints dataset from the IPA, which examines media usage in the UK, reveals that millennials continue to engage with news but in a very different way to older consumers.

In 2015, the IPA said that 65% of the time people would read news content via a printed newspapers and a further 18% of the time via newsbrands' digital platforms. But millennials spend 23% of their news time reading newsbrands in print and further 34% reading newsbrands on digital platforms.

In addition, millennials are driving change as they consume 22% of their news time on their mobile phones compared to only 7% for tablets.

That tallies with the findings of a study by Newsworks earlier this year. Generation News reported that millennials were more likely than boomers (50-65 year olds) to exhibit their news habits on digital devices, so allowing them to "snack" on news throughout the day.

Almost three-quarters of this age group said they visited a newsbrand website to get more information when they saw an interesting story on social media.

Overall newsbrand habits of millennials and boomers, the report said, are more influenced by engagement and interest in news than by their generation groups.

That is also generally true of US millennials, according to a recent survey by the American Press Institute which examined how this age group got their news. "News orientation" is the biggest driver of a person's willingness to pay for news, more so than a person's age or socioeconomic status, it said.

Over half (53%) reported regularly using paid news content — in print, digital or combined formats — in the past year. And 40% had paid out of their own pockets, in contrast to the common belief that millennials expect everything on the web to be free.

But even among those millennials who said keeping up with the news is very important to them, only half personally paid for news content. And, among those paying for news, free services like Facebook and search engines are their most common sources for obtaining news on many topics.

Data sourced from IPA, Newsworks, American Press Institute; additional content by Warc staff