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Britons are turning to online sources of news in record-breaking numbers with digital monthly readership now surpassing 40 million across the UK’s national news brands, knocking Google from its perch for the first time.

Data released by PAMCo found growing appetite for quality journalism with an extra 3.2 million daily readers of online national news recorded in 2019 versus 2018, figures that are only going to increase amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The report also documents how national online readership now reaches 20 million people daily, up by close to 3 million over the past 12 months.

Daily audience numbers across both national and regional news brands now stand at 34 million people every day, representing year-on-year growth of 10%. Meanwhile, the combined print and digital audience for national news brands stand at 46 million per month and 27 million daily.

Tracy De Groose, executive chair of Newsworks, said: “Against a backdrop of Brexit, climate change and the current coronavirus pandemic, we are living in unprecedented and anxious times and the news industry is playing a vital role in people’s lives by providing information and advice they can rely on. Amid growing awareness of the pervasiveness of fake news and misinformation the nation’s appetite for trusted news is at an all-time high.”

The report follows hot on the heels of a separate survey conducted by the Advertising Association (AA) and Warc which showed that advertising revenue for national news brands rose by 0.4% year-on-year to £234m in the third quarter of last year.