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Australia: TV the favoured news source

September 29, 2020

Research from Roy Morgan shows over 13.1 million Australians (62.4 per cent) said TV was a main source of news during the June quarter 2020, up from 12.6 million (60.0 per cent) during the March quarter.

TV emerged as the favoured news source during the period of lockdown for more Australians than any other as over 4.3 million Australians were sent to work from home in March. Roy Morgan’s data on working from home shows there were still 3.9 million Australians working from home in July.

Other sources of news were led by the Internet used by over 11.2 million Australians (53.4 per cent) – including 6.4 million (30.5 per cent) using Social Media followed by Radio nominated by 6 million (28.5 per cent), news or newspaper website/apps mentioned by 5.8 million (27.6 per cent) and printed newspapers named by 3.8 million (18 per cent).

Within the broader category of the internet over 3.3 million Australians (15.7 per cent) used news feed sites such as Google News, Apple News, Feedly etc., a further 1.6 million (7.4 per cent) used email subscriptions or updates and 1.4 million (6.9 per cent) use other websites or apps. There are 940,000 (4.5 per cent) who used magazines (printed, website or app) as a main source of news.

These findings are drawn from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey, Australia’s most comprehensive consumer survey, derived from in-depth interviews with 50,000 Australians each year.

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan, says the pandemic has brought many changes to the way Australians are living their lives in 2020 and this includes how Australians access the latest news and information.

“The Covid-19 pandemic struck Australia in mid-March as new cases mounted and in response all of Australia went into an extended lockdown period beginning in late March which extended through until mid-June for most of Australia. In a time of immense stress and uncertainty people turn to trusted sources of news to understand what is going on and what the impact will be on their way of life. TV is consistently rated as the most trusted source of news in Australia and was mentioned by 33.5 per cent of people in the June quarter 2020, well ahead of the 25.9 per cent who mentioned the internet,” said Levine.

“This high level of underlying trust for TV is a big reason why it has been the source of choice for Australians looking for news during the pandemic. Over 13.1 million said they used TV as a source of news (62.4 per cent) in the June quarter 2020 – up from 12.6 million in the March quarter. As well as the underlying trust Australians hold in TV as a source of news the changing way Australians worked during this period is also a likely contributor to the changes in the marketplace.”

“The millions of Australians suddenly working from home during the lockdown gave homebound consumers easy access to the TV which normally wouldn’t be available for workers in the office. Although Victoria appears set to emerge from its second wave of Covid-19 during the next few weeks, and other parts of Australia have enjoyed low levels of restrictions over the last couple of months, there are still millions of Australians working from home. Many have suggested working from home will be far more prevalent in the years ahead, even after the pandemic is over, as workers seek increased flexibility in their employment options. These changes to our working habits will in turn have ongoing implications for how consumers choose to access the latest news and information through their favoured media channel,” she concluded.

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