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Third of Aussies use social for news

News, 04 March 2016

SYDNEY: For many Australians online news and social media are the first ports of call for news and current affairs, a new study has shown.

A survey by Meltwater, reported by B&T Magazine, questioned more than 1,000 Australians on their media consumption habits and use of digital technologies and found that 35% turned to their Facebook or Twitter newsfeeds first for news.

Several Australian publications have built a formidable digital presence, with journalists also building individual followings on Twitter or Facebook. Though Facebook can offer excellent reach for publishers, the platform's algorithm can see stories served to users that are already hours out of date.

Almost 60% of those surveyed believed that online news is more influential than print news, with the platform popular across all age groups. Australians over 65 years old are relying on online news just as much as print publications.

In 2016, consumers are much more likely to periodically check the news through the day on their smartphone, rather than find out the news of the day on a 6pm bulletin.

With significant amounts of data available from online platforms, media companies are better able to track the news consumption habits of their readers and viewers and invest accordingly. Australians value intuitive web sites and mobile news apps, as well as video news from trusted journalists.

In fact, video journalism has taken off as an on-demand alternative to a nightly television bulletin; it also adds depth to print coverage.

Contrary to "clickbait" news strategies, Australians also like in-depth feature-length articles and the personalisation of content based on their online behavior.

For brands, the findings demonstrate the growing importance of digital display advertising in media publications, and also the opportunities afforded by native advertising.

Data sourced from B&T; additional content by Warc staff