In today’s rapidly evolving media landscape, news consumption is going through a significant transformation, moving from traditional broadcast TV, newspapers and broadsheets to the dynamic realms of social media platforms. Such a shift demands a strategic and adaptive approach from PR professionals, and as we explore these changes, it’s crucial to understand not just where our audiences are, but also how they prefer to consume information.

Despite the rise of digital platforms, broadcast TV remains the go-to source for news among UK adults, with 70% still relying on it, according to Ofcom’s latest research. When we factor in on-demand content, this number rises to 75%. The BBC, across all its platforms, reaches an impressive 73% of all UK adults, with BBC One emerging as the primary and most influential source. Traditional media’s enduring influence stands strong, even in the midst of the rise of digital disruption.

Contrary to long-term trends, print newspapers have also shown consistent reach, and this resilience is complemented by growing digital platforms, showcasing the industry’s adaptability to changing consumer habits. The dominance of online sources, particularly social media, marks a paradigm shift in news consumption. Ofcom’s data reveals that nearly half of UK adults (47%) rely on social media for news, with Facebook historically leading the charge (reaching 30% of UK adults). Enter TikTok. This platform’s meteoric rise as a news source, reaching 10% of UK adults, underscores the evolving preferences of consumers, particularly among younger demographics.

For 16-24 year-olds, the digital landscape is a natural habitat, with 83% consuming news online. Social media serves as the primary gateway, with 71% turning to platforms like TikTok for their daily news fix. Unlike their older counterparts, young adults are more likely to access news via social media rather than direct websites. Their motivations for news consumption differ, emphasising staying informed for work or studies, as well as using news as a means to pass time.

In the midst of these shifts, the role of PR professionals becomes pivotal in advising clients on their go to market media strategies. Just recently, The Mirror Group  announced it’s bringing social media influencers on board in a bid to reflect and acknowledge the changing tide, while recognising the influence these influencers have in shaping narratives, engaging audiences and ultimately, making money. Similarly, CityAM’s relaunch of its YouTube channel underscores the importance of diversifying platforms to reach a plethora of audiences across the world.

As the media landscape continues to evolve, PR professionals must be innovators, blending traditional and digital strategies to reach diverse audiences, and keeping them engaged. Understanding the nuances of news consumption across platforms, especially the preferences of younger demographics, is paramount. By staying ahead of the curve, we can not only navigate the ever changing media landscape but also craft compelling narratives that resonate with the dynamic ways in which consumers now engage with news.

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