5 Surprising Insights on Digital Content Consumption

It’s almost that time of year again! The release of the annual Digital News Report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism is just around the corner.

This report provides a great understanding of trends in content consumption, particularly in digital media. They obtain their numbers after surveying tens of thousands of online news consumers around the world. In 2015, the collected data showed “a quickening of the pace towards social media platforms as routes to audiences, together with a surge in the use of mobile for news… and significant growth in video news consumption online.”

Watch the video below, for a quick glimpse of some of the key findings in digital media consumption.

Here are some of the insights that we found (more or less) surprising.

Millennials Don’t Like Ads

Despite their dislike of ads, most of the respondents reported not installing any ad-blocking software. Of those that did install- they mostly did so on their laptops and smartphones. When we came across this information, we realized that it made sense, because we noticed a sharp rise in agencies that don’t go about the traditional route with online advertisements. The plus side (from the online marketing standpoint) is that this means more business is set to come their way for organic marketing initiatives. The ROI on ads, though very easy to measure, is proving to be low. This is especially the case in the US, where respondents claimed to be cynical about advertising.

Mixed Reactions On Sponsored Content

It is understood that pop-ups and banner ads aren’t well-received. Interestingly enough, neither are editorial-style ads. Sponsored content leads many readers to feel disappointed, and even deceived. Is it really that big of a deal? Absolutely! This makes many users question the credibility of news outlets that offer this option. However- sponsored content that has anything to do with fashion, travel, or lifestyle seems to be perfectly welcome. Same applies with the listicles on BuzzFeed, no one has any complaints against those.

Exclusive News Apps: Downloaded, But Not Used

We all have our favorite blogs, and many of the top news blogs, such as Business Insider, TechCrunch, and Slate have their own apps. But people are kind of funny. They download the apps (probably to show support,) but don’t really use them. They are far more likely to repeatedly visit their favorite blog by clicking on links that appear on social networks, than actually read the posts through the app.

Local News Is Old News

For the most part, local news sites experienced a major drop in audience share. They are being trumped by sites that are more social media friendly, such as The Huffington Post, CNN, and BBC News Online. On that note- most respondents claimed that they refuse to pay for local digital news. Now is the time for digital properties that have paid subscriptions to reconsider and be more strategic. Although the quality of the content offered with paid subscription models are expected to be top-notch, it will only get increasingly difficult for these sites to acquire more subscribers.

People Love Sharing Their Thoughts

Okay, maybe this one isn’t that much of a surprise. Consumers love sharing their thoughts on digital content (for better or for worse). They would either do so directly in the comments section of posts, or via social media posts that share them.
We can’t wait to see what’s in store in the 2016 edition of the Digital News Report, especially considering the rise of broadcasting services and technologies.

— by Farhana Rahman