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Smart phones and radio shape news consumption during lockdown

Blog post   •   Jul 17, 2020 10:50 BST

As we re-emerge from the dark and anxious days of lockdown, one reflects on how the online world was a lifeline to keep our homes going, our families safe and our businesses running. Children went to school online, we ordered our food and household essentials online, we got our parents into the world of online chat – and the business world of ‘going to a meeting’ became a world of back-to-back Zoom calls.

Concerts and theatre went online, and so did people’s news habits. Our latest market research commissioned during lockdown reveals that news consumption online soared whereas consumption of news in printed format fell. And looking at online news habits, mobile devices have now become twice as popular as computers as a way of accessing national news online or in real time.

Whilst, no doubt, all the attention has been on how online platforms have come into their own since lockdown, it’s important not to overlook the enduring appeal of radio. Our tracking research suggests the amount of people that have consumed daily news on national or digital radio stations has soared since lockdown: For some, perhaps, radio offered a calmer oasis to the intensely busy online and social platforms during lockdown.

The daily audience for local news has fallen, perhaps a symptom of the online world’s ability to put news in a real-time global context, coupled with the fact that the big issues being tackled in the news at the moment are, by their nature, national and international. Our latest research suggests daily consumption of news from regional papers and local /grassroots radio has fallen.

We will be publishing a report on the full findings of media habits during lockdown in the weeks ahead. For more information do get in touch.