Teenagers in the UK are turning away from traditional news channels and are instead looking to Instagram, TikTok (that saw fastest growth) and YouTube to keep up to date, the country’s communications regulator Ofcom said on Thursday.
For the first time, Instagram is the most popular news source among teenagers, used by nearly three in 10 in 2022 (29 per cent).
TikTok and YouTube follow closely behind, used by 28 per cent of youngsters to follow news.
Chinese short video-making platform TikTok has seen the fastest increase in use of any news source between 2020 and 2022 – from 0.8 million UK adults in 2020 to 3.9 million in 2022.
“This brings it onto a par with Sky News’ website and app. TikTok’s growth is primarily driven by younger age groups, with half of its news users aged 16 to 24,” the report said.
Users of TikTok for news get more of their news from ‘other people they follow’ than ‘news organisations’.
“Social media is overtaking traditional channels for news among teens. Instagram, TikTok and YouTube are now their top three most used sources for news,” Ofcom said in its report.
Five of the top six TV channels (including BBC One which remains the top news source across platforms) saw decreased reach from 2021 among online adults.
“BBC One and BBC Two – historically the most popular news sources among teens – have been knocked off top spot down to fifth place. Around a quarter of teens (24 per cent) use these channels for news in 2022, compared to nearly half (45 per cent) just five years ago,” the report mentioned.
Reach of print/online newspapers has seen a decrease from 2020 (47 per cent) to 2022 (38 per cent).
“The decrease is driven by decreases in print (online newspaper reach remains steady) which have likely been exacerbated by the pandemic,” the report mentioned.
While the reach of print newspapers is decreasing, online newspaper reach remains steady.
The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday remains the most widely-read print news title overall, whilst The Guardian/Observer and Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday are the most widely-read digital titles, the report noted.
The BBC website / app remains the most used ‘other website/app’, used by 23 per cent of the UK adults, followed by Google (search engine) used by 12 per cent of the UK adults, a decrease from 2020.
YouTube, Yahoo News and Apple News reach all have increased since 2020 and 13 per cent of the adults say they use news aggregators, the report mentioned.
“The reach of podcasts is small overall (10 per cent) and the attitudes towards online sources’ news provision remain consistent with 2020,” it added.