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TV Again Most Important News Source in Germany

TV Again Most Important News Source in Germany

Hans-Bredow-Institut Publishes German Findings of the "Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2017" about International News Usage

Hamburg, 22.06.2017. More than three quarters of adult Internet users in Germany watch the news on television (77%). Television is the most important source for more than half of them (52%) to get information about world affairs. More than half of the Internet users between the age of 18 and 24 watch the news on television regularly (59%), and every third user of this age group states that television is the primary source for news.

Interest in News Remains High

The interest in news remains significant in Germany: 94 per cent of adult Internet users watch, read or listen to news at least several times a week, 87 per cent do so on a daily basis. 70 per cent are "extremely" or "very" interested in news.

News on TV or in Newspapers Are More Trusted Than News on Social Media

Every second person trust news "more" or "entirely" (50%). People who are interested in news trust them more than people who have no interest in it. More internet users tend to trust news on television (56%) and in print media (60%) more than Internet users who mainly get news on the Internet (45%) and on social media (33%). In international comparison, Germany ranks seventh of the 36 evaluated countries with the highest level of trust.

Avoiding Information Deliberately Is Rare

Almost every second Internet user in Germany older than 18 avoids news occasionally. However, the majority of Internet users does so only sometimes or for certain topics. Only a small percentage avoids news quite often (5%). In Germany, the percentage of people avoiding news is relatively small with 49% compared to other evaluated countries.

News Usage on the Internet Is Relatively Low

60 per cent of survey participants use the Internet regularly for online news. For 28 per cent, the Internet is the most important news source. None of the other countries in this survey show a lower percentage. However, even on the Internet, most people consider the content of traditional providers of print media and television as the most important news source (17%). The reason for this might be that news services offered by traditional channels is comparatively well in Germany since there is no censorship or intervention by the government. Thus, there is no reason to look for alternative news sources online.

Social Media as News Source Only Additionally to Other Sources

Facebook and other social media are certainly used by some parts of the population as a news source but only as one of many sources and not the most important or only resource. Social media are used by 29 per cent of Internet users as a news source, whereas it was 31 per cent in the previous year. Only 7% of the respondents consider social media as the most important resource for news-related information. And only 1,6 per cent of Internet users older than 18 use social media as their only news source. Even among the 18 to 24 year olds, only 2,8 per cent use social media as the only source for news content.

Active Participation Only on the Political Fringes

The majority of Internet users avoids commenting, sharing or posting on news websites or social media. The most frequently used form of participation in the context of news is to "like" something (14%). Ten per cent of the respondents share articles on social media on a regular basis, eight per cent comment regularly on articles. Age differences do not play a big role here.
However, there are larger differences in the light of political orientations. People who see themselves being on the left of the political spectrum "like" (23%) or share (21%) news articles more often than Internet users from the political centre (like: 14%; share: 11%) or people with a right-wing political orientation (like: 14%; share: 10%).

Mobile Use via Smartphone and News Apps Increases

Laptops or computers remain the most widely used device for consuming online news. 72 per cent of Internet users older than 18 use regularly a laptop and 70 per cent of respondents use a smartphone. The age group, in which the percentage of smartphone users is higher than the one of people using computers for consuming news, has increased in 2017. Adult Internet users aged up to 45 use smartphones proportionately more than laptops or computers. Last year, only Internet users younger than 35 used their smartphone more than other devices.
In 2017, the majority of Internet users in Germany use news websites or news apps as a direct access to news. 34 per cent of Internet users older than 18 use this regularly.  Accessing news content via social media (22%) or searching a news topic using a search engine (18%) follows by a great margin. However, search engines are considered being faster and less complicated to get to a specific website (22%). 

News Videos Rarely Used

As in previous years, reading articles (41%) and scanning headlines (28%) dominate all other forms of consuming news in 2017. Large proportions of Internet users still do not prefer consuming news in form of videos regularly. 14 per cent of the respondents say that they watch regularly news videos online.
Something similar applies to the viewing of picture galleries, which generates clicks. Reading articles and reports and scanning headlines are used the most in all examined age groups. Even Internet users in the group aged 18 to 24 prefer reading news to watching videos or looking at pictures. The percentage of reading news increases with the aging process.

Information on the Study

News consumed via the media is the key element in our society to orientate ourselves in the environment that we live in. This applies not only to local and regional environments but also to international events. Today, there is more content, there are more providers, more data media and more devices to cosume news than ever before in history. We can consume news not only through traditional ways, but also via the Internet whenever and wherever we like. What kind of news interest people? What devices and ways are used to find news? Who of the providers is trusted the most? And what do people think about financing journalism? These are central questions posed in the Reuters Institute Digital News Survey since 2012. The survey has been conducted by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, located in Oxford, to identify general trends as well as national characteristics. In 2017, participants were simultaneously questioned in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Great Britain, Hongkong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey and the USA. In 2017, about 2,000 people were interviewed in each country, the interviews were conducted in the last week of January and the first week of February 2017. Overall, in its sixth repetition, the study is based on answers from 71,805 respondents from 36 countries. Since 2013, the Hans-Bredow-Institut has been the collaborating partner responsible for the German contribution. In 2017, the survey has been supported by the Landesmedienanstalten [State Media Authorities] and by the ZDF [Second German Television].
The complete report with all international findings will be presented to the public on June 22, 2017, in Vienna. Later on, it will be available on the website of the Hans-Bredow-Institut.
You can find further information at http://www.digitalnewsreport.org/ (English) and on the project page of the Hans-Bredow-Institut: www.hans-bredow-institut.de (German).


Dr. Sascha Hölig, phone: 040 450 217 84, email: s.hoelig@hans-bredow-institut.de

Information on the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

Das Institut was founded by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in 2006; it is based at the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford. Das Institut is an international research centre in the comparative study of journalism. With its global perspective in its resarch, the Institute offers a forum for researchers from a wide range of disciplines and journalists from all over the world. More information at http://reuters institute.politics.ox.ac.uk/

Information on the Hans-Bredow-Institut

Das Hans-Bredow-Institut researches media changed and the related structural shifts in public communication. It combines basic and transfer research from a cross-media, interdisciplinary and independent perspective. Thus, it provides problem-specific knowledge for politics, commerce and civil society. More information at www.hans-bredow-institut.de/en


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