Where's that news sub?
Despite strenuous news industry efforts, the number of people actually paying for any kind online news – whether by subscription, membership, or donation – increased only slightly last year. Growth is limited to a handful of countries mainly in the Nordic region – Norway 34% and Sweden 27% – while the number paying in the US remains stable at 16% after a large jump in 2017, according to the Digital News Report from The Reuters Institute.
And in countries with higher levels of payment, the majority of payers have just one online subscription, which suggests that winner takes all is the prevalent dynamic dynamics. However, one encouraging development is that most payments are now ongoing, rather than simple one-offs.
The report finds that social communication around news is becoming more private as messaging apps continue to expand around the world. And WhatsApp has become a primary network for discussing and sharing news in countries like Brazil, Malaysia, and South Africa.
Also, public and private Facebook groups discussing news and politics have become popular in markets such a Turkey and Brazil, but are much less used in Western countries such as Canada or Australia.
Across all countries, the average level of trust in the news in general is down. Trust levels in France have fallen to just 24% (-11) in the last year as the media have come under attack over their coverage of the Yellow Vests movement. Trust in the news found via search (33%) and social media remains stable but extremely low (23%).
FAKE NEWS UPDATE: The Bad News online game in which people work to disseminate disinformation increases resistance to fake news, according to the University of Cambridge.