The 2017 digital news report – fake news, digital trends & trust

The 6th annual global digital news report makes for fascinating reading. The study is commissioned by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism to understand how news is being consumed in a range of countries. Research was conducted by YouGov using an online questionnaire during January & February 2017. Some focus groups were also used. This link has full details of the research methodology.


The 2017 digital news report


The full report can be found on this link. It’s an interesting read for anyone interested in digital media or the digital world. It runs to over 100 pages so we’ve picked out a few headline findings and go on later in the blog to pull out some specific United Kingdom survey results. The full report has summaries from different countries so has a fully global outlook.


The 2017 digital news report executive summary


In the world of fake news, you might think that there is little trust in news organisations but interestingly the researchers have found that “the internet and social media may have exacerbated low trust and ‘fake news’, but we find that in many countries the underlying drivers of mistrust are as much to do with deep-rooted political polarisation and perceived mainstream media bias.”


In terms of media companies being able to monetise digital content, the outlook remains difficult but findings indicate that ad-blocking is no longer growing and online subscriptions are growing in some countries.


The 2017 digital news report key findings


  • Growth in social media for news is flattening out in some markets. Messaging apps are becoming more popular and the researchers found that the use of WhatsApp for news is starting to rival Facebook in several markets e.g. Malaysia (51%), Brazil (46%), and Spain (32%).
  • Only a quarter (24%) of respondents think social media do a good job in separating fact from fiction, compared to 40% for the news media.
  • There are wide variations in trust across our 36 countries. The proportion that says they trust the news is highest in Finland (62%), but lowest in Greece and South Korea (23%).
  • In most countries, the researchers find a strong connection between distrust in the media and perceived political bias.
  • Almost a third of the research sample say they often or sometimes avoid the news. For many, this is because it can have a negative effect on mood. For others, it is because they can’t rely on news to be true.
  • Mobile is outstripping computer access for news in an increasing number of countries. Mobile news notifications have grown significantly in the last year e.g. US +8%, South Korea +7%, Australia +4%.
  • Smartphones are now as important for news inside the home as outside. More smartphone users now access news in bed (46%) than use the device when commuting to work.
  • Voice-activated digital assistants like the Amazon Echo are emerging as a new platform for news, already outstripping smart watches in the US and UK.
  • Across all countries, only around one in ten (13%) pay for online news but some regions (Nordics) are doing much better than others (Southern Europe and much of Asia).
  • Ad-blocking remains low on smartphones (7%).



The 2017 digital news report UK Summary


Brexit has been the major issue in the UK and the unplanned election. The Brexit campaign, vote and aftermath has been polarising. The UK also has a strong public broadcaster (the BBC) which affects the media landscape.

The key finding from the research was that trust in the UK reduced by 7% in the wake of the Brexit campaign. Also, the role of the BBC came under scrutiny, with the referendum taking place when the corporation was seeking a new charter.

Overall, print ad spending fell by 13% in 2016 with Facebook and Google being the main beneficiaries of the move to online. Partly because of these trends the Guardian newspaper (which lost over £100m in the last two years) lost 250 jobs in the UK.

Many publishers are pursuing diversified revenue streams including membership, paid content, e-commerce, and events. The Financial Times has around 550,000 paid digital subscribers The Times has around 200,000 digital subscribers.



About Opilio digital recruitment


We’ve been operating in the digital recruitment space for a decade so know a thing or two about recruiting the best talent. Over the years we have consistently grown our business and have an incredible team of passionate and intelligent people that share our love of the digital space.

With offices in London, Birmingham and Manchester, we have the network, connections and social media reach to make things happen.

Sheba Karamat

Managing Director

Sheba specialises in: Director level position in Marketing, eCommerce, Finance and HR.

020 7183 7145


Share this article

Register with us today: