Newsworks: Why Ofcom's 'questionable' report is wrong about the demise of national newspapers

The marketing body for national newspapers Newsworks has said that Ofcom yesterday painted a misleadingly bleak picture of its members in the News Consumption in the UK report.

Ofcom survey quoted a survey claiming that just 31 per cent of UK adults use a newspaper (printed) for news "nowadays".

But Newsworks said in a statement: "Newspapers are not just paper anymore. They have successfully evolved to become multi-platform newspaper brands, or newsbrands, available online and in app as well as on paper.

"According to the topline figures in Ofcom’s own report, 41 per cent of people use the internet as a source of news. What does not emerge clearly is that five of the top six news websites are owned and run by newspaper publishers, with audiences ranging from five million up to 10.7 million monthly in the UK, on desktop only. These websites include Mail Online, The Telegraph, The Independent, the Guardian and the Mirror.

"These figures exclude smartphone and tablet which are increasingly important for newspaper brands. Adding these platforms in further increases the combined monthly digital reach to 39 million people, according to Comscore data from October 2015.

"Even the Ofcom report’s findings regarding printed newspapers are questionable. According to its poll, 31 per cent of people claim to use a printed newspaper for accessing news nowadays, with no definition of what nowadays means in terms of frequency. Data from the much larger industry NRS survey shows that 67 per cent of adults read a printed newspaper each month and 56 per cent each week."

Newsworks chief executive Rufus Olins said "For most people the news they read is not defined by the platform or device but by the brand or title that delivers it.  Newspapers have made the transition to the new platforms rather successfully, which means they now reach a record 46 million people across their platforms in the UK as 2015 draws to a close. There is every sign that their reach and popularity will continue to grow next year, not just in the UK but internationally as well.”

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