Diverse media landscape: How the world consumes news
August 11th, 2023, Janice Fernandes

Diverse media landscape: How the world consumes news

In an era of rapid digital advancement, the way people consume news has evolved dramatically. From traditional media like television, radio and print newspapers to emerging platforms like podcasts and social networks, this piece explores the preferences of news consumption in different countries and regions.

According to data from YouGov Global Profiles, focused on 48 international markets, television emerges as the prominent medium, with 55% of global respondents relying on it for news updates.

Television is particularly pronounced in Denmark, where two-thirds of the population (66%) say they prefer to get their news through this medium, closely followed by Sweden (63%). Conversely, countries in the MENA region record the lowest TV news consumption – UAE (39%) and Saudi Arabia (40%). The percentage of consumers in US and Canada who watch news on the TV is around half the population (52% and 54% respectively).

Social network websites garner the attention of 47% of respondents worldwide. Singapore leads in this category with 54% relying on social networks for news, significantly more than the share who watch news on television (42%). In contrast, that share is nearly halved in Great Britain (26%), Denmark (25%) and Sweden (28%) with around a quarter of people in each country revealing their reliance on social networks for news updates.

Nearly two-fifths of global respondents (38%) choose to get their daily news updates from news apps on mobile or tablets. However, it’s not such a popular choice in most countries, with fewer than a three-tenths of consumers in USA (27%), Canada (28%), Great Britain (28%) and Australia (27%) saying that’s how they get their news. On the other hand, newspaper websites register around a third of consumers in these markets, just like global respondents (35%) – USA (32%), Canada (35%), Great Britain (36%) and Australia (35%). Denmark (50%) and Sweden (63%) have the highest proportion of consumers who access news from newspaper websites.

Independent news websites, not affiliated with newspapers, attract 27% of global respondents. US (30%) leads among all countries in this domain, followed by Denmark (28%). Urban Indians show the least inclination in this regard (19%).

Despite digital advancements, printed newspapers still command a presence, with 26% of global respondents favoring them. Over half of urban Indians (56%) say they access a printed copy of newspapers to get their news. Nearly a third of consumers in Great Britain (31%) and Sweden (30%) also say the same. Consumers in USA and Saudi Arabia are least likely to pick printed newspapers as a news source (19% each).

Traditional media like radio continues to serve as a reliable news source for a significant proportion of consumers in a few of the markets surveyed. Around two-fifths of consumers in Sweden (46%), Denmark (44%), Australia (40%), Canada (38%) and Great Britain (37%) say they get their news from the radio. While consumers in US (28%) and Singapore (27%) are slightly more likely than global respondents (25%) and UAE residents are as likely to say the same (25%), radio is comparatively not a popular medium for news in markets like Saudi Arabia (18%) and India (17%).

Digital magazine apps and online magazines attract fewer than two in ten global respondents (17% and 15% respectively). Even in individual markets neither of these mediums garner a high percentage of users. The digital era has significantly impacted traditional print media, with only around one in ten global respondents turning to printed magazines (10%) for news.

Email newsletters and RSS feeds are the choice of 11% of global respondents, with Saudi Arabia (18%) and UAE (16%) indicating a higher usage. While only around one in 20 British consumers (6%) say they access email newsletters, the share is doubled among American consumers (12%).

Data indicates that podcasts, a relatively new medium, are used by only around one in nine (11%) global respondents to get their news, a preference slightly more pronounced in US (14%) and Sweden (12%).

Lastly, 9% of global respondents turn to blogs not associated with major media organizations for news updates, with consumers in UAE (13%), Saudi Arabia (12%) and India (11%) leading the way. Around 8% of American consumers say they access news from this source, while consumers in Canada (3%), Great Britain (3%) and Australia (5%) indicate a lesser inclination.

Explore our living data for free

To receive monthly insights about media and content register here.  

To read YouGov’s latest intelligence on the media industry explore here.

Make smarter business decisions with better intelligence. Understand exactly what your audience is thinking by leveraging our panel of 20 million+ members. Speak with us today

Methodology: YouGov Global Profiles is a globally consistent audience dataset with 1000+ questions across 48 markets. The data is based on continuously collected data from adults aged 16+ years in China and 18+ years in other markets. The sample sizes for YouGov Global Profiles will fluctuate over time, however the minimum sample size is always c.1000. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from India and UAE, which use urban representative samples, and China, Egypt, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, Philippines, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam, which use online representative samples. Learn more about Global Profiles.

Getty Images