Global Interest in News is Decreasing While Payments Go Up

Being able to access the latest news from around the world is the type of thing that people are quite fortunate to get the chance to do, but with all of that having been said and now out of the way it is important to note that the global demand for news coverage has actually declined somewhat. In America especially, the interest that people seem to have in news and the like has decreased by 11% and a similar trend is being seen all around the world as well.

While the coronavirus pandemic has slightly reversed the trend that has been seen over the past decade or so, the general trend has still been quite negative for news in general. However, it should be noted that while the general interest in news seems to be declining, the amount of people that are willing to pay for quality news sources has actually been increasing quite a bit. What’s more is that an increasing number of people are paying for multiple news subscriptions, so while news might not have the broad appeal that it used to enjoy, it is still a largely profitable industry for these reasons.

According to a survey conducted by YouGov, 21% of respondents paid for news from a source, and on average they had subscribed to at least two different news sources. This indicates that people are looking for a wider range of news sources, potentially for the purposes of obtaining a more balanced world view that takes multiple opposing viewpoints into account. While the rise of social media may lead some to believe that echo chambers are here to stay, this trend goes against this notion at the very least to a certain extent.

The survey was conducted in around 20 countries, and it seems that people from all of these countries are paying for news as well. 17% of respondents said that they paid for news in some way, shape or form, and the thing that should be kept in mind here is that just 5 years ago in 2016 this number was as low as 12% which indicates healthy, consistent growth over the years.

The number is immensely high in wealthier countries, though. For example, 45% of respondents in Norway said that they paid for some kind of news subscription which is a 3% year on year increase. However, the trend doesn’t seem to hold throughout the various other wealthy countries that are out there, which paying for news being something that only 9% of people in Germany and 8% in the UK tend to take part in.

A major contributor to the increase in news subscriptions that were seen in America had to do with the election of Donald Trump as that country’s president. This coupled with the coronavirus proves that major world events that go against the status quo tend to whet people’s appetites for quality news coverage, and the increase in subscriptions does not seem to die down after the major event passes. Hence, things might just be looking up for the news industry as a whole, and as long as people keep paying for subscriptions the general disinterest in news might not matter all that much.

H/T: Digital News Report 2021 / Reuters Institute

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