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Consumer Perceptions of News Media - UK - September 2010

  • TV is the most popular medium for accessing news, with more than three-quarters of adults claiming to use it regularly. The internet is the second most popular source, with around two-thirds using it to access news, while just under half use national newspapers.
  • Consumers are most interested in national news and local/regional news. However, there are some notable demographic variations, with men more likely than women to be interested in international news, politics/current affairs, business and sport and women showing greater interest than men in local/regional and entertainment news.
  • TV is seen as the best way to stay up-to-date with the latest news but newspapers still have an important role to play in providing depth and analysis behind the headlines. With the plethora of news sources now that internet penetration is so widespread, one problem is that of saturation, with many consumers agreeing that there are so many sources nowadays, they don’t know which ones to trust.
  • In TV news, the BBC is associated with solid, conventional attributes such as authoritative, reliable, traditional, accurate and responsible. However, rival Sky is perhaps viewed as more ‘cutting edge’ with words such as up-to-the-minute and innovative featuring in the top five.
  • The BBC also dominates the radio news space, led by its Radio 4 and Radio 2 stations, which are viewed as authoritative, reliable, responsible, accurate and traditional, while the word most associated with Radio 1’s news coverage is entertaining. By contrast, perceptions of the news coverage of commercial radio stations are quite poor, with people most likely to see them as lightweight and too commercial – but entertaining.
  • The Times emerges as having by far the most positive perceptions among consumers, reflecting its long-established status. It is seen as authoritative, traditional, reliable and responsible. In contrast, top tabloid The Sun is viewed as sensationalist, biased and lightweight…but entertaining.
  • Drawing on its status as a global news gatherer serving multiple platforms, the BBC also scores well in online news provision, being associated with many of the same attributes as its TV and radio news operations. A similar situation is evident with the online news arms of the major newspapers, where The Times again comes out on top.

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Table of contents

  1. Issues in the Market

      • Main issues
        • Definition
          • Abbreviations
          • Future Opportunities

            • Trend: Customization
              • Trend: Modern Urban Nomads
              • Market in Brief

                  • It was the Sun wot did it
                    • Beeb dominates TV news...
                      • ... and radio too
                        • Good Times
                          • Online lead for BBC
                            • TV and papers each have their strengths
                              • Information overload?
                                • Free news no less trustworthy
                                  • Triple play
                                    • Net gains
                                      • A broad church
                                      • Market Background

                                        • Key points
                                          • Trends in media consumption
                                            • TV viewing trends
                                              • Figure 1: Trends in average weekly TV viewing, January 2005-April 2010
                                              • Figure 2: Trends in TV viewing shares by broad sector, January 2005-April 2010
                                              • Figure 3: Trends in TV viewing shares by channel, January 2005-April 2010
                                              • Figure 4: Trends in national audience share for news channels, Jan-April 2010
                                            • Radio listening trends
                                              • Figure 5: Trends in average weekly radio listening, March 2005-March 2010
                                              • Figure 6: Trends in average weekly radio listening, by broad sector, March 2005-March 2010
                                              • Figure 7: Trends in average weekly listening to major national BBC radio stations, March 2005-March 2010
                                              • Figure 8: Trends in average weekly listening for major commercial radio stations, March 2005-March 2010
                                            • Newspaper readership trends
                                              • Figure 9: Trends in daily newspaper* circulations, May 2005-May 2010
                                              • Figure 10: Trends in daily newspaper* circulations, by broad sector, May 2005-May 2010
                                              • Figure 11: Trends in selected paid-for daily newspaper* circulations, by title, May 2005-May 2010
                                              • Figure 12: Trends in selected free daily newspaper circulations, by title, May 2005-May 2010
                                            • Online news website visiting trends
                                              • Figure 13: Trends in news and information website visiting, by month, January 2005-May 2010
                                              • Figure 14: Trends in online news site visitors by month, by title, June 2009-August 2010
                                            • Net benefit
                                              • Figure 15: Broadband penetration, by demographics, 2005-09
                                            • Generation on-demand
                                            • What Types of News Are People Interested In?

                                              • Key points
                                                • National news tops the interest charts
                                                  • Figure 16: Interest in different types of news, April 2010
                                                • The generation game
                                                  • Interest in news is broad-based
                                                    • Figure 17: Repertoire of interest in different types of news, April 2010
                                                    • Figure 18: Interest in different types of news, by repertoire of interest in different types of news, April 2010
                                                • How Often Do People Access Different Media For News?

                                                  • Key points
                                                    • Internet is number two regular news source behind TV
                                                      • Figure 19: Frequency of accessing different types of media for news, April 2010
                                                    • Newspaper and radio most vulnerable to internet threat
                                                      • Figure 20: types of media accessed regularly for news, by types of media accessed regularly for news, April 2010
                                                    • Consumers access a wide range of media to keep up with the news
                                                      • Figure 21: Repertoire of different types of media accessed regularly for news, April 2010
                                                      • Figure 22: types of media accessed regularly for news, by repertoire of different types of media accessed regularly for news, April 2010
                                                  • Perceptions Of TV News Brands

                                                    • Key points
                                                      • BBC leads the way
                                                        • Figure 23: Words and phrases associated with leading TV news brands, April 2010
                                                      • ITV still important but seen as less serious
                                                        • Channel 4 goes head-to-head with the big hitters
                                                          • Channel Five seen as a lightweight
                                                            • Sky’s strength is breaking news
                                                              • CNN and Bloomberg have more limited appeal
                                                                • Figure 24: Words and phrases associated with selected other TV news brands, April 2010
                                                              • Perceptions of Al Jazeera are negative
                                                              • Perceptions Of Radio News Brands

                                                                • Key points
                                                                  • BBC is yardstick by which others are measured
                                                                    • Figure 25: Words and phrases associated with bbc radio brands for news, April 2010
                                                                  • Many commercial stations seen as ‘too commercial’
                                                                    • Figure 26: Words and phrases associated with leading commercial radio brands for news, April 2010
                                                                    • Figure 27: Words and phrases associated with other radio brands for news, April 2010
                                                                • Perceptions of Newspaper Brands

                                                                  • Key points
                                                                    • Good times
                                                                      • Figure 28: Words and phrases associated with leading broadsheet newspaper brands, April 2010
                                                                    • Other broadsheets viewed as authoritative
                                                                      • Excess baggage?
                                                                        • Figure 29: Words and phrases associated with leading mid-market and popular tabloid newspaper brands, April 2010
                                                                      • Racy redtops
                                                                        • Lightweight freebies?
                                                                          • Figure 30: Words and phrases associated with leading freesheet newspaper brands, April 2010
                                                                        • Times readers have highest trust levels
                                                                          • Figure 31: Words and phrases associated with leading broadsheet newspaper brands for news, by readers of each newspaper brand, April 2010
                                                                          • Figure 32: Words and phrases associated with leading mid-market and popular tabloid newspaper brands for news by readers of each newspaper brand, April 2010
                                                                      • Perceptions of Internet News Brands

                                                                        • Key points
                                                                          • BBC dominates online news world as well
                                                                            • Figure 33: Words and phrases associated with leading broadcasters’ online news brands, April 2010
                                                                          • ITV’s online news perceived in much the same way as its TV output
                                                                            • Currency is Sky’s selling point
                                                                              • Figure 34: Words and phrases associated with leading online broadsheet news brands, April 2010
                                                                            • Times seen as the online authority…
                                                                              • … fractionally ahead of Guardian
                                                                                • Figure 35: Words and phrases associated with leading online tabloid news brands, April 2010
                                                                              • Mail Online news seen as biased and sensationalist
                                                                                • Redtops’ online news presence viewed as sensationalist and lightweight
                                                                                  • Figure 36: Words and phrases associated with leading online portal news brands, April 2010
                                                                                • Portals and search engines perceived as too commercial…
                                                                                  • … but Google’s approach is the exception to the rule
                                                                                  • Which Brands Are ‘Best In Class’?

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • Positive words and phrases
                                                                                        • Accurate
                                                                                          • Figure 37: Top ten news media brands perceived as accurate, April 2010
                                                                                        • Authoritative
                                                                                          • Figure 38: Top ten news media brands perceived as authoritative, April 2010
                                                                                        • Entertaining
                                                                                          • Figure 39: Top ten news media brands perceived as entertaining, April 2010
                                                                                        • Indispensable
                                                                                          • Figure 40: Top ten news media brands perceived as indispensable, April 2010
                                                                                        • Innovative
                                                                                          • Figure 41: Top ten news media brands perceived as innovative, April 2010
                                                                                        • Objective
                                                                                          • Figure 42: Top ten news media brands perceived as objective, April 2010
                                                                                        • Reliable
                                                                                          • Figure 43: Top ten news media brands perceived as reliable, April 2010
                                                                                        • Responsible
                                                                                          • Figure 44: Top ten news media brands perceived as responsible, April 2010
                                                                                        • Specialist
                                                                                          • Figure 45: Top ten news media brands perceived as specialist, April 2010
                                                                                        • Traditional
                                                                                          • Figure 46: Top ten news media brands perceived as traditional, April 2010
                                                                                        • Trustworthy
                                                                                          • Figure 47: Top ten news media brands perceived as trustworthy, April 2010
                                                                                        • Up-to-the-minute
                                                                                          • Figure 48: Top ten news media brands perceived as up-to-the-minute, April 2010
                                                                                        • Negative words and phrases
                                                                                          • Biased
                                                                                            • Figure 49: Top ten news media brands perceived as biased, April 2010
                                                                                          • Lightweight
                                                                                            • Figure 50: Top ten news media brands perceived as lightweight, April 2010
                                                                                          • Misleading
                                                                                            • Figure 51: Top ten news media brands perceived as misleading, April 2010
                                                                                          • Provocative
                                                                                            • Figure 52: Top ten news media brands perceived as provocative, April 2010
                                                                                          • Sensationalist
                                                                                            • Figure 53: Top ten news media brands perceived as sensationalist, April 2010
                                                                                          • Too commercial
                                                                                            • Figure 54: Top ten news media brands perceived as too commercial, April 2010
                                                                                        • What Are Consumers’ Attitudes Towards News and The Media?

                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                            • TV best for breaking news
                                                                                              • Figure 55: Attitudes towards news sources, April 2010
                                                                                            • … but newspapers go to the heart of the story
                                                                                              • Over half cross-check stories
                                                                                                • Papers seen as more likely to check stories than individuals
                                                                                                  • Broadcast news plays to desire for convenience
                                                                                                    • Proliferation of sources causes confusion
                                                                                                      • Two in five view papers as less relevant nowadays...
                                                                                                        • ... but they retain appeal for the big stories
                                                                                                          • Women and young people most trusting
                                                                                                            • Over a quarter pay more attention to ads in news sources they trust
                                                                                                              • Newspaper readers wary of political bias
                                                                                                                • Free news no less trustworthy than paid-for
                                                                                                                  • TV is topline, while newspapers add depth
                                                                                                                    • Figure 56: Attitudes towards news sources, by most popular attitudes towards news sources, April 2010
                                                                                                                    • Figure 57: Attitudes towards news sources, by next most popular attitudes towards news sources, April 2010
                                                                                                                    • Figure 58: Attitudes towards news sources, by other attitudes towards news sources, April 2010
                                                                                                                  • Information overload presents an opportunity?
                                                                                                                  • News Media Targeting Opportunities

                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                      • Figure 59: Trust in the media target groups, April 2010
                                                                                                                    • Trusting Headliners
                                                                                                                      • Cynical Fact-checkers
                                                                                                                        • Indifferent
                                                                                                                          • Cynical Fact-checkers most interested in news
                                                                                                                            • Figure 60: Interest in different types of news, by target groups, April 2010
                                                                                                                          • Cynical Fact-checkers check more types of media more often
                                                                                                                            • Figure 61: Frequency of accessing different types of media for news, by target groups, April 2010
                                                                                                                        • Appendix – What Types of News Are People Interested In?

                                                                                                                            • Figure 62: Interest in most popular types of news, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 63: interest in next most popular types of news, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 64: Repertoire of interest in different types of news, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                        • Appendix – How Often Do People Access Different Media For News?

                                                                                                                            • Figure 65: Frequency of accessing different types of media regularly for news, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 66: Repertoire of different types of media accessed regularly for news, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Perceptions of TV News Brands

                                                                                                                            • Figure 67: Words and phrases associated with leading TV news brands, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 68: Words and phrases associated with selected other TV news brands, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 69: Words and phrases associated with BBC TV News, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 70: Words and phrases associated with ITV news, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 71: Words and phrases associated with Channel 4 news, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 72: Words and phrases associated with Channel five news, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 73: Words and phrases associated with Sky News, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 74: Words and phrases associated with CNN news, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 75: Words and phrases associated with Bloomberg News, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 76: Words and phrases associated with Al Jazeera news, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Perceptions of Radio News Brands

                                                                                                                            • Figure 77: Words and phrases associated with leading BBC radio brands for news, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 78: Words and phrases associated with leading commercial radio brands for news, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 79: Words and phrases associated with other leading radio brands for news, April 2010
                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Perceptions Of Radio News Brands

                                                                                                                            • Figure 80: Words and phrases associated with BBC Radio 1 news, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 81: Words and phrases associated with BBC Radio 2 news, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 82: Words and phrases associated with BBC Radio 3 news, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 83: Words and phrases associated with BBC Radio 4 news, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 84: Words and phrases associated with BBC Radio 5 live news, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 85: Words and phrases associated with talkSPORT news, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 86: Words and phrases associated with 95.8 Capital FM news, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 87: Words and phrases associated with Classic FM news, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 88: Words and phrases associated with Absolute Radio news, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 89: Words and phrases associated with XFM news, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 90: Words and phrases associated with Heart news, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 91: Words and phrases associated with Galaxy news, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 92: Words and phrases associated with Magic news, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 93: Words and phrases associated with local commercial radio stations’ news, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Perceptions Of Newspaper Brands

                                                                                                                            • Figure 94: Words and phrases associated with leading broadsheet newspaper brands, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 95: Words and phrases associated with leading mid-market and popular tabloid newspaper brands, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 96: Words and phrases associated with freesheet newspaper brands, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 97: Words and phrases associated with leading broadsheet newspaper brands, by readers of each newspaper brand, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 98: Words and phrases associated with leading mid-market and popular tabloid newspaper brands, by readers of each newspaper brand, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 99: Words and phrases associated with The Times, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 100: Words and phrases associated with The Guardian, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 101: Words and phrases associated with The Daily Telegraph, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 102: Words and phrases associated with The Independent, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 103: Words and phrases associated with the Daily mail, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 104: Words and phrases associated with the Daily Express, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 105: Words and phrases associated with the Daily Mirror/Daily Record, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 106: Words and phrases associated with The Sun, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 107: Words and phrases associated with the Daily Star, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 108: Words and phrases associated with Metro, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 109: Words and phrases associated with the Evening Standard, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 110: Words and phrases associated with the Financial Times, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Perceptions of Internet News Brands

                                                                                                                            • Figure 111: Words and phrases associated with leading broadcasters’ online news brands, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 112: Words and phrases associated with leading online broadsheet news brands, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 113: Words and phrases associated with leading online tabloid news brands, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 114: Words and phrases associated with leading online portal news brands, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 115: Words and phrases associated with AOL, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 116: Words and phrases associated with MSN, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 117: Words and phrases associated with Yahoo!, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 118: Words and phrases associated with bbc.co.uk, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 119: Words and phrases associated with itv.com, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 120: Words and phrases associated with skynews.com, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 121: Words and phrases associated with Times Online, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 122: Words and phrases associated with guardian.co.uk, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 123: Words and phrases associated with Mail Online, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 124: Words and phrases associated with thesun.co.uk, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 125: Words and phrases associated with mirror.co.uk, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 126: Words and phrases associated with telegraph.co.uk, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 127: Words and phrases associated with Google News, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 128: Words and phrases associated with ft.com, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                        • Appendix – What Are Consumers’ Attitudes Towards News and The Media?

                                                                                                                            • Figure 129: Most popular attitudes towards news sources, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 130: Next most popular attitudes towards news sources, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 131: Other attitudes towards news sources, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                        • Appendix – News Media Targeting Opportunities

                                                                                                                            • Figure 132: Attitudes towards news sources, by target groups, April 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 133: News media target groups, by demographics, April 2010

                                                                                                                        Companies Covered

                                                                                                                        • America Online UK (AOL UK)
                                                                                                                        • Audit Bureau of Circulations
                                                                                                                        • Bloomberg L.P.
                                                                                                                        • British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
                                                                                                                        • British Sky Broadcasting Group plc (BSkyB)
                                                                                                                        • Broadcasters' Audience Research Board Limited
                                                                                                                        • Channel 4
                                                                                                                        • Classic FM plc
                                                                                                                        • Co-operative Group
                                                                                                                        • Daily Express
                                                                                                                        • Daily Mail
                                                                                                                        • Daily Mirror (The)
                                                                                                                        • Daily Record & Sunday Mail
                                                                                                                        • Daily Star (The)
                                                                                                                        • Evening Standard
                                                                                                                        • Financial Times Group
                                                                                                                        • Google UK
                                                                                                                        • Guardian Newspapers Limited
                                                                                                                        • Independent (The)
                                                                                                                        • ITV plc
                                                                                                                        • Kantar Media
                                                                                                                        • Marks & Spencer
                                                                                                                        • News Corporation (The)
                                                                                                                        • Research in Motion Uk Ltd.
                                                                                                                        • Spotify AB
                                                                                                                        • T-Mobile (UK) Ltd
                                                                                                                        • Telegraph Group Limited
                                                                                                                        • Tesco Plc
                                                                                                                        • The Sun
                                                                                                                        • The Times Newspaper
                                                                                                                        • Twitter, Inc.
                                                                                                                        • Virgin Mobile
                                                                                                                        • Vodafone Group Plc (UK)
                                                                                                                        • Waitrose
                                                                                                                        • Yahoo! UK & Ireland
                                                                                                                        • YouTube, Inc.

                                                                                                                        Consumer Perceptions of News Media - UK - September 2010

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