32% of Australians share a news story via email or social media

The Reuters Institute just released their Digital News Report 2015* giving an overview of consumption in each country which includes Australia.  The survey gives detailed data tables and statistics around the use of smartphone and tablets and the role of different social networks for news. Overall key trends show a fast development of social and mobile news, a decline in desktop internet, and a significant growth in video new consumption online intensifying battle for global audiences online.

Interestingly, 32% of Australians share a news story via email or social media, ranking 4th/12 – on part with the US and before the UK ranking 10th/12 (19%). Similarly, 32% say the smartphone is the main way of accessing online news in AU, positioning Australians as early adopters of new technology and avid digital news consumers compared to their US & UK counterparts, respectively at 26% and 27%.


Without too much surprise, the data show that Facebook is becoming increasingly dominant, with 41% (+6) using the network to find, read, watch, share, or comment on the news each week – more than twice the usage of its nearest rival. In Australia, 48% use it weekly, followed by YouTube (15%), Google+, Twitter (7%) and LinkedIn (5%) at the back of the pack. Facebook is without doubt the channel of choice for finding, discussing and sharing news, with owned channels such as Instagram & WhatsApp playing a big role amongst younger groups. Acknowledging these averages mask significant differences between genders, ages, and countries in terms of the networks used. 18–24s continue to use Facebook and Twitter but have also adopted other networks and messaging apps for more private conversations, sharing pictures, and a different tone in term of devices usage, we can see that Apple ranks almost equal to other devices (31% vs. 30%) for smartphones whilst being the preference for tablets (25% vs. 11%).topsocialSourceAge

The survey also reveals second & third-screen devices becoming mainstream: 45% using two or more digital devices (58% for AU) and 16% using three or more digital devices. 15% say tablet is the main way of accessing online news versus 10% in the US and 18% in the UK). When asked Which, if any, of the following devices have you used to access news in the last week, 59% of Aussies said they used their smartphone, ranking #1 before most European countries included in the survey as well as the US and Japan.

Despite the traditional media industry in Australia, some pure digital players launched in the past 3 years such as the Guardian, the Mail Online, as well as Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post most recently counting on this strong usage of digital in Australia.

*Source & copyright: Reuters Institute