Where do you get your news from?

Tue, Aug 23 2016

It’s a common question for those of us in PR and communications.  Those of us over forty might still turn to the newspaper(s) in the morning and be lamenting the rumours coming out of Fairfax that print will be a weekend only option in the near future.  But Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood isn’t just crystal ball gazing.  The fact is physical newspapers are now only seen as the most frequently used source of news by just 6% of Australians.  Far more see social media as their primary news source, particularly Millennials (those under 32), 29% of whom turn to social for their daily news fix.

These are just two of the findings from the Deloitte Media Consumer Survey 2016, which surveyed more than 2000 consumers in Australia about how they interact with media, entertainment, technologies and information across five categories: Entertainment, Devices, Social, Books, magazines and news, and Advertising.

It’s the fifth year of the Deloitte Survey and comparing our media consumption habits today versus 2012 (see graphic below) provides a stark reminder of how quickly us communicators need to keep adapting to an omni-channel digital media environment.

Social is a media super power for all age groups in Australia, with 84% of us engaged with social media networks, two thirds of us interacting with social media every day and 27% of us checking our accounts four or more times a day.

The smart companies are recognising that social is increasingly where the conversation and influence is.  The Deloitte Media Consumer Survey found that 51% of respondents agreed that companies’ use of social networking sites has improved their perceptions of the company or brand.

Why is social so powerful? The Deloitte report suggests it’s because it provides such an immersive and seamless experience.  For me, this quote from the foreword of the report is indicative of the future consumer we will be targeting:

“Our entertainment and social network activities are inherently linked. The most common multi-tasking activity whilst watching our home television system is using a social network. We create, we comment, we post, we upload and we blog. And we watch – the new kid on the social block is live video, presenting social platforms as complements (or future alternatives) to both SVOD (streaming video on demand) services and on demand free-to-air.”

How do we interact with this sort of consumer? We need to be social and we need COPE (create once publish everywhere) content that seamlessly flows across platforms, in a way that is immersive, not interruptive. This is probably why there is so much excitement about virtual reality (VR), which is in its infancy but has huge engagement potential if used properly.

Deloitte’s 2016 TMT Predictions report highlighted that VR would enjoy its first billion dollar year globally in 2016. This year’s Media Consumer Survey revealed that with only 4% of respondents in Australia owning a VR headset there is still a long way to go. But this could be all set to change, with the majority of respondents to the survey (58%) believing VR will enhance media experiences and 10% intending to buy a headset in the coming year.

SVOD’s take-up and use may also hold some clues to how we will consume content in the future with the Deloitte survey suggesting that Millennials are setting future trends.  Almost a quarter (22%) of Australians now have a SVOD subscription in their household, up from just 12% last year. Millennials are leading the charge, 36% of them holding a subscription. With 43% of Australians suggesting they would rather pay for TV shows than be exposed to advertising and 74% of Millennials binge watching programs there is a clear decline in the power of interruptive advertising.

This shift in advertising influence is also seen in the other big news from this year’s survey. For the first time online reviews and recommendations from an individual’s social media circle have outstripped TV advertising in terms of their influence on buying decisions. This supports the finding from this year’s Edelman Trust Barometer that people now trust social media more than mainstream media and shows us the need to always try to cross-pollinate mainstream news with social amplification.

You can download the full Deloitte Media Consumer Survey 2016 report here.

Author: Ben Findlay, Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications, Deloitte Australia