Social media is now more popular than television as the main medium through which young people access news. But the newly acquired newsy pedigree of social media is hinged on the continued rise of smartphone use.
According to a research report by the Reuters Institute of the Study of Journalism, of the 18-to-24-year-olds surveyed, 28% cited social media as their main news source, compared with 24% for TV.
It further suggests that 51% of people with online access relied on social media as a news source. However, the rising use of mobile phones to access news are undermining traditional business models.
In doing so, they risk losing control of content and that relationship with the reader which can drive them to other content, so they have to balance using social media platforms with building up a loyal user base of their own.
“Social Media is becoming the challenger to tradional methods of engagement & often beats mainstream TV” Paul Marsh pic.twitter.com/a6FWamMV87— #MERSEYHOUR (@MerseyHour) December 12, 2015
Sweden (69%) led the pack when it came to people who used smartphone to access news, they were followed by Korea (66%) and Switzerland (61%), people looking to get news were also more likely to use social media rather than going directly to a news website or app.
The study disclosed that Facebook was the most common source – used by 44% of all those surveyed – to watch, share and comment on news. Next was YouTube with 19% , with micro blogging site, Twitter on 10%. Apple News accounted for 4% in the US and 3% in the UK, while messaging app Snapchat was used by just 1% or less in most countries.
The report states that more often than not do not know the original source of the news the consume, a situation that should greatly trouble worry traditional media outlets.
A lead author of the report Nic Newman thus charged such outlets to take social media seriously in order to remain relevant to the smartphone news audience.
“In doing so, they risk losing control of content and that relationship with the reader which can drive them to other content, so they have to balance using social media platforms with building up a loyal user base of their own,” he said.
The report is supported by BBC News, Google and Ofcom, among other partners.
The report, now in its fifth year, is based on a YouGov survey of about 50,000 people across 26 countries, including 2,000 Britons.