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TV main source of news – and most trusted

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source July 2017 - June 2018, n = 14,920. Base: Australians 14+. *TV including free-to-air TV and Pay TV.
New research from Roy Morgan reveals over 13 million Australians (65.6%) now say TV is a main source of news including over 12.6 million (62.3%) specifically nominating free-to-air TV. In addition TV is regarded as the most trusted source of news by nearly 7.5 million Australians (36.7%) – ahead of any other forms of competing traditional or digital media.

The Internet is used as a main source of news by 11.7 million Australians (57.8%) and the leading source of online news is social media used by 7.5 million (36.7%). Printed newspapers are used by 6.3 million (31.1%) while 5.5 million (27.3%) mainly get their news via newspaper or other news websites or apps. Radio is nominated by 9.2 million Australians (45.5%) as a main news source.

Many Australians identified more niche sources of news within these broader categories. Online over 2.5 million Australians (12.6%) use news aggregators such as Google News, Feedly, Flipboard etc., a further 1.9 million (9.4%) use email subscriptions or updates and 1.1 million (5.4%) use other websites or apps. There are 1.2 million (6.2%) who use magazines as a main source of news.

Main Sources of News – 12 months to June 2018

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source July 2017 - June 2018, n = 14,920. Base: Australians 14+. *TV including free-to-air TV and Pay TV.

TV most trusted source of news ahead of radio

While TV (36.7%) is clearly the most trusted source of news for Australians, the next most trusted source of news is a close contest between radio (15.9%), news and newspaper websites/apps (12.3%) and newspapers in printed format (11.2%). Only 4.3% consider social media their most trusted source of news.

This is in line with Roy Morgan’s research of ‘Trust’ and ‘Distrust’ that showed social media is the least trusted media.

Most Trusted Sources of News – 12 months to June 2018

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source July 2017 - June 2018, n = 14,920. Base: Australians 14+. *TV including free-to-air TV and Pay TV.

The popularity of traditional news sources decreases with age and the reverse is true for online news sources such as social media

TV is a main source of news for two-thirds of Australians and this primacy above other forms of media is built on the strength of free-to-air TV as a source of news for Australians aged in their forties and above.

Four-out-of-five Baby Boomers (80%) and Pre-Boomers (81.7%) say free-to-air TV is a main source of news for them and nearly as many in Generation X (70.7%) nominate free-to-air TV as a main news source. However the popularity of free-to-air TV drops away significantly for younger generations. Only 49.8% of Millennials and 41.1% of Generation Z say free-to-air TV is a main source of news.

Print newspapers are the second ranked source of news for Pre-Boomers (59.4%) and third ranked source of news for Baby Boomers (46.5%). But newspapers in their traditional format rank below free-to-air TV, radio and social media for Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z.

In contrast to the older generations both Millennials (75.6%) and Generation Z (72.5%) are more likely to say the Internet is a main source of news ahead of other forms of media including free-to-air TV. The leading source of news online for the younger generations is social media mentioned by 58.6% of Generation Z and 53.4% of Millennials.

The Internet is the second ranked source of news for Generation X (58.1%) but is well below both print newspapers and radio as a main source of news for both Baby Boomers and Pre-Boomers.

Main Sources of News by Generations – 12 months to June 2018


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source July 2017 - June 2018, n = 14,920. Base: Australians 14+.

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan, says:

“In our increasingly digital world it’s easy to assume ‘traditional media’ are largely a thing of the past. This new research, which specifically focuses on the use of, and trust in, news sources shows that TV remains one of the main sources of news for the majority of Australians. And that large numbers of Australians continue to rely on radio and newspapers for their news.

“The choices Australians make about where to get their news is a key factor for advertisers and marketers looking to reach out and engage consumers. Exploring the differences and similarities between target groups of interest within the population offers valuable insights to drive the effective use of different media channels.

“The proliferation of new digital media such as ‘social media’ in recent years has in turn put a premium on ‘trust’ in media. In the era of ‘fake news’ media channels that have built a high degree of trust over many decades have an advantage against new media outlets that are approached with a degree of skepticism by significant proportions of the population.

“Roy Morgan’s research into ‘trust’ and distrust’ in media has shown traditional media outlets such as the ABC, SBS and Fairfax have a higher degree of trust than newer forms of media represented by social media.

“Although younger generations have a higher degree of trust in the internet, including social media, indications are that as online news platforms continue to grow in importance at the expense of traditional media news platforms the level of trust in media generally will be under pressure. In this challenging environment it is crucial for traditional media brands which have established their online presence to maintain and develop the trusted relationship that their audiences have with those brands."

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

7,500

±1.1

±1.0

±0.7

±0.5

10,000

±1.0

±0.9

±0.6

±0.4

20,000

±0.7

±0.6

±0.4

±0.3

50,000

±0.4

±0.4

±0.3

±0.2