Broadcasters rule, but news aggregators rising: study

The Media Technology Monitor's annual report on news consumption also outlines how wealthier, better-educated Canadians differ from the rest.

The Media Technology Monitor has issued its annual study on Canadian news consumption habits.

The study looked at 4,000 Anglophone Canadians age 18+ using a mixed model of phone and online surveys. MTM found that 60% of that group follows news (local, national or international) on a near-daily basis and 66% follows political news on a weekly basis or more. While political news following was up about 2% from last year, the study attributed this to last year’s federal election in Canada and the upcoming U.S. election.

One-third of those surveyed were identified as “heavy news users,” people who consume local, national, international and political news (as opposed to just one or a mix of several) once or more per day. These users were found to be more likely to be male, older, better educated and have a higher household income. The total (and the profile) of heavy news users was on par with last year’s findings.

But more importantly than how much news Canadians consumed is how they were consuming it.

While television remains a key player in news consumption (60% of respondents report watching a specialty news channel), more than two-thirds of respondents now regularly consume news online.

There also appears to be a preference for news sources that deliver coverage that hits close to home — even by the “heavy news user” group. Overall, 98% of news readers accessed online local newspapers in the past month (and 99% of heavy news users), while 73% accessed a national paper (65% for heavy news users).

News aggregators and social media are also a vital to online news consumption. Sites such as Canoe, Huffington Post and Google News were used more than once per week by 50% of respondents (a 16% increase from last year), while 34% reported getting their news such as Facebook and Twitter (unchanged since 2015).

The most common source of online news is broadcaster websites (CBC, CTV, CNN and others), with 62% of respondents tuning in. CBC was found to be the most popular among those surveyed, with 48% of users reporting access in the past month (the next-most popular was CTV, at 27%). It was also most popular among the “heavy news user” group, with 32% accessing in the past month.

Meanwhile, 54% reported getting their news from a newspaper website such as The Star and The Globe and Mail.