Irish people more tuned into the news than EU, British, and US counterparts

Irish people more tuned into the news than EU, British, and US counterparts

The number of Irish consumers paying for news subscriptions or access increased by four percentage points, to 16%. Picture: Larry Cummins

Irish people are more interested in the news than their EU, British, or US counterparts while trust in Irish media has increased in the past year, a new study has found.

The research also found that Irish news consumers are more likely to pay for news than their European or British counterparts.

The findings are part of this year’s Reuters Digital News Report (Ireland) 2021, the largest ongoing comparative study of news consumption in the world.

The report will be launched this morning at an online event by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI).

The research of more than 2,000 people in Ireland also found that WhatsApp is now the most popular social media platform in the country, overtaking Facebook.

Some 70% of Irish respondents said they were extremely or very interested in news, an increase of 5% on 2020 figures, and significantly higher than the EU average (60%); the UK (51%) and North America (54%).

The number of consumers who cite television as their main source of news in Ireland has risen by 8% to 41%.

There was an increase across all age groups citing TV as their main news source, with the 18 to 24-year-old age group recording the largest increase, up 13 percentage points on 2020, to 28%. This is largely at the expense of social media, which dropped 15% to 31% for this cohort.

The next most popular source of news for all age cohorts is online (excluding social media and blogs) at 29% (unchanged from 2020) and social media at 16%, down 4% on 2020.

The number of consumers citing radio as their main source of news has fallen by 4%, to 9%, and the number citing printed newspapers has fallen by two percentage points, to 4%.

Levels of public trust in news in Ireland have increased by 5% over the past year, with 53% of respondents expressing positive levels of trust in the media. 

The level of trust in media is higher in Ireland than the EU (45%); the UK (37%) and North America (37%).

The report found that older respondents prefer neutral news reports, with younger people more inclined to believe that, on some issues, strict impartiality is not desirable.

The number of Irish consumers paying for news subscriptions or access increased by four percentage points, to 16%.

Irish consumers are more willing than their EU (15%) or UK (8%) counterparts to pay for news, while some 17% of North American consumers are willing to pay for news, down one percentage point on 2020.

There has been an increase across all age groups in those who have subscribed, donated, or paid a news organisation to view content.

Some 29% of Irish respondents said they were unaware of the financial difficulties faced by the media.

In Ireland, the main device for accessing online news remains the smartphone (60% — up three percentage points); followed by the laptop or desktop computer (27%); and tablet (11%).

Irish respondents were generally skeptical of news they see on social media, with 51% disagreeing or strongly disagreeing with the statement ‘you can trust the news on social media most of the time’.

Some 75% of those in the 65 plus age group said they are ‘concerned about what is real and what is fake on the internet’, compared with 55% of 18 to 24-year-olds.

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