• Australian public favour online news sources over traditional TV and print  
  • Some 59% of Generation Z opt for social media news 
  • “Free-to-air TV is used by 57.6% as a source of news far ahead of radio and social media,” says Roy Morgan 


Roy Morgan: Discovers online news sources surpasses TV as the new favourite

Online sources surpass TV as favourite news source with 59% of Gen Z opting for social media options, according to the latest research from Roy Morgan.  

TV is now just behind the internet as the main place Australians turn for their news according to 60.6% of those surveyed, which is up from 57.8% in the middle on 2018.  

Some 59.5% of the public favour TV which dropped from 65.6%. This is made up of the majority of the public choosing free-to-air TV at 56.4% and pay-TV including Foxtel bundle with Sky, BBC, CNN and Fox News at 8.3%.  

For older generations free-to-air TV continues to be the main source of news, while the internet and social media dominate for Millennials at 50% and Generation Z at 59%. 

According to Roy Morgan: “TV is a main source of news for around three-fifths of Australians and this is built on the strength of free-to-air TV as a source of news for Australians aged in their mid-forties and above.” 

Around 80% of Baby Boomers and Pre-Boomers say free-to-air TV is a main source of news for them, and nearly two-thirds – 64% of Generation X – nominate free-to-air TV as a main news source – higher than any other channel.  

However, the popularity of free-to-air TV drops away significantly for younger generations. Only 40% of Millennials and 36% of Generation Z say free-to-air TV is a main source of news. 

Both Millennials 77% and Generation Z 74% are more likely to say the internet is a main source of news, ahead of other forms of media including free-to-air TV.  

Roy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine said: “The internet has overtaken TV to become the main source of news for Australians. However, within these broader categories, free-to-air TV is used by 57.6% as a source of news far ahead of second-placed radio (42.4%) and social media (37.6%) in third. 

“Free-to-air TV is the best way to reach Australians in Gen X, Baby Boomers and Pre-Boomers who are now aged in their mid-forties and above, while radio is the second best channel to reach Baby Boomers and those in Gen X.” 

Print newspapers are the second ranked source of news for Pre-Boomers at 54% and third ranked source of news for Baby Boomers at 41%. But newspapers in their traditional format rank below free-to-air TV, radio and social media for Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z. 

Levine added: “Many see the biggest challenge surrounding dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic as getting the message through to younger generations who may feel the virus doesn’t pose a real threat to them.  

“The internet is the primary source of news for around three-quarters of Millennials and Gen Z, far higher than other channels, and social media is the best channel to use to reach younger Australians.”