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… and finally, lighthearted news on social turns Gen Z away from traditional sources


Generation Z is more likely to consume news online via social media and apps.

Ofcom’s News Consumption in the UK report found that younger people are moving away from news websites and are more interested in celebrity, sports and music news.

The regulator said that this meant that young people’s direct relationship with traditional news brands is weakening.

The research showed that 16-24 year olds were much more likely to consume news online than adults – 83% v 68% and usually that’s through social media channels on their mobile – 63% v 39%.

The same age group is also less likely to get their news from traditional sources:

  • TV 47% v 70%;
  • Radio 25% vs 40%;
  • Print 16% vs 26%.

Generation Z is more likely to navigate straight to social media than adults (37% v 24%), rather than traditional news website (9% vs. 26%).

For 16-24 year olds, Instagram is the top source of news:

  • Instagram 44%;  
  • Facebook 33%;
  • Twitter 31%;
  • TikTok, 29%. 

Only one traditional media source makes the top 5, with BBC One sharing second place with Facebook at 33%.

Looking at a younger age group, BBC One is in first place, with TikTok taking second place for 12-15 year olds.

  • BBC One 39%
  • TikTok 28%
  • YouTube 25% 
  • Instagram 25%

The report also examined what news topics were of most interest to Generation Z:

  • Sports or sports personalities (23%); 
  • Music news or singers (15%);
  • Cellebrities or famous people (11%);
  • Serious things going on in the UK (8%);
  • News about ‘animals or the environment’ (9%). 

Lighter news topics are of particular appeal across social media sites TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat.

News consumption amongst adults

Broadcast television news maintains its position as the most popular news source for adults – 70%.

This increases to 75% if you take on broadcast video on demand news content.

PSB’s still have a dominant position, collectively reaching 94% of news audiences. Outside of the public service broadcasters, only Sky News reaches more than 8% of UK TV audiences.

BBC One (49%) is the most-used news single source across all platforms, followed by ITV (34%) – although both channels have seen gradual declines over the past five years (down from 62% and 41% respectively). 

Facebook – the third most popular news source among adults – is showing signs of decline, from 33% to 30% over the same period.

Amongst adults, TikTok’s popularity as a source of news is growing, with 10% using it to keep up with the latest stories – overtaking BBC Radio 1 (8%) and Channel 5 (8%).

TikTok (55%), along with Instagram (53%), is particularly popular among adults for celebrity news. Twitter is the favoured destination for breaking (61%) and political news (45%), while Facebook is the preferred source for local news (59%).

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