- 6 per cent of Britons pay for online news, according to survey of more than 2,000
- Of the remainder, 75 per cent would be unwilling to at any price and 14 per cent would pay £2.50 a month or more
- 42 per cent used smartphone for news, and half of these used BBC News
- 41 per cent say TV is main source of news, 38 per cent online (including social media) and 10 per cent print
- 45 per cent say TV is most accurate and reliable, 28 per cent online, 7 per cent print
- 48 per cent accessed BBC News online, 72 per cent offline
- A third of UK/US surveyed felt 'disappointed or deceived' by sponsored advertising
A survey of more than 2,000 UK adults found that 75 per cent would not pay for online news at any price. (Picture: Shutterstock)
This finding was made as part of the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2015. The study used an online questionnaire via Yougov in late January and early February to ask 2,149 UK participants a series of questions on news consumption. Some 7 per cent said they had not consumed any news in the past month and were therefore not asked any further questions.
Of the remainder, the study found that 42 per cent had used a smartphone to access news in the past week in the UK – up from 33 per cent in 2014. Tablets, meanwhile, were used by 31 per cent for news, up from 23 per cent last year.
Of the 42 per cent who said they’d used smartphones for news in the past week, 51 per cent of these said they had used BBC News. In the United States, where a similar proportion (44 per cent) of people surveyed said they had used smartphones for news, the biggest news brand on mobile was Fox News, used by 14 per cent.
Of those who said they had consumed news in the past week in the survey, 41 per cent in the UK listed television as their main source, 38 per cent online (including social media) and 10 per cent print.
TV also came out of the report best for accuracy and reliability, with 45 per cent ranking it best in this regard. Print publications gained 7 per cent of the vote, below online on 28 per cent.
Asked how they came across their online stories, 52 per cent of UK participants said they went straight to the news brand, 32 per cent through an internet search and 28 per cent through social media. Both emails and mobile notifications and alerts attracted 10 per cent each.
In the UK, 48 per cent of those surveyed said they had accessed BBC News online in the last week, 14 per cent Mail Online, 12 per cent Huffington Post and The Guardian, 8 per cent Yahoo, 5 per cent Buzzfeed and MSN, and 1 per cent Vice.
In the United States, where 2,295 were surveyed, 10 per cent listed the BBC, 4 per cent The Guardian and 3 per cent the Daily Mail. In the US, the biggest news brands were Yahoo (23 per cent) and HuffPo (22 per cent).
In Australia, where 2,042 were surveyed, the BBC scored 14 per cent compared with The Guardian’s 7 per cent and Daily Mail’s 3 per cent.
Offline in the UK, 72 per cent of those surveyed said they accessed BBC News. The next biggest news brands were ITV News (32 per cent) and Sky News (26 per cent).
Local newspapers collectively were the next biggest news brands, with 19 per cent saying they had read one in the past week, above the Mail newspapers (18 per cent), Sun titles (13 per cent) and the Metro, Mirror and Channel 4 news (12 per cent each).
The report also asked its participants whether they paid for online news. Some 6 per cent of those surveyed in the UK said they did, the lowest of any of the 11 countries asked this question. Finland had the highest rate – 14 per cent.
Of the 1,992 UK participants who said they did not pay for news online, 75 per cent said they would not do so at any price, 9 per cent said they would pay £2.50 a month, 4 per cent said they would pay £5 a month and 1 per cent said they would pay £10 a month.
These figures arose after the surveyed asked: "What is the maximum price you would pay for a subscription to a digital-only news service – including full access to its website, apps and any digital replicas of the newspaper?"
Asked about advertising, 39 per cent of those surveyed in the UK said they used ad-blocking software, 39 per cent said they ignored adverts and 31 per cent said they avoided websites where adverts “interfere with content”.
This part of the survey was carried out in the UK and US alone. According to the report: “A third or more say they have felt disappointed or deceived after reading an article they later found had been sponsored.
“Half say they don’t like sponsored content but accept this is part of how they get free news.
“Over a quarter feel less positively about the news brand as a result of sponsored content or native advertising.”