• Ofcom study finds 75% of Brits watch TV news
  • Social media rising quickly as key news platform
  • Report highlights difference in news consumption between age groups

Almost half of UK adults now use social media to keep up-to-date on the latest news, although TV remains the most popular news platform in the country, according to a report from regulator Ofcom.

Ofcom HQ London

Ofcom HQ London

TV news consumption is declining, the regulator revealed in its News consumption in the UK: 2019 report, with 75% saying they watch TV news in 2019, compared with 79% in 2018.

In the same period, 49% said they used social media to discover the news – up from 44% in 2018.

The annual study looks at the way adults and older children in the UK consume news across television, radio, print, social media, other internet sources and magazines.

The internet is the second most popular platform for news at 66%, followed by radio at 43% and newspapers at 38%.

Television dominates among the over-65s with 94% tuning in to get their daily dose of news. Compare this with the 16-24 age range, where just 51% consume news through the TV, while 83% use the internet across any device.

TV dominates across all types of news category, according to Ofcom, except for celebrity news, which is led by social media. BBC One remains the most-used news source in the UK across all platforms, though this declined from 62% to 58% year-on-year. ITV remains in second but saw a small decline, while Facebook, the BBC website and app, Google and Twitter were all in the top 10 and saw growth in usage.

Six in ten older children aged 12-15 claim to be interested in news. Three quarters (76%) said they read, watched or listened to news at least once a week.

TV is also the most-used platform for accessing international news, Ofcom found, followed by radio, newspapers and social media.

Two thirds of respondents said they believe it is important “to society overall” that broadcasters offer a slate of current affairs programmes, though only half thought it was important to them on a personal level.

41% said it is very important that these shows are impartial, while 72% said it was important or very important that these provide high quality commentary and interpretation of the news. The same amount said they believed current affairs shows should help them to understand what is going on in the world.

Despite this, fewer adults listen to or watch current affairs programmes in the UK compared with 2018 – down from 66% to 62% on TV and flat across radio.

For the survey, Ofcom carried out 2,156 face-to-face and 2,535 online interviews during 2018/19.