The ABC is recording the biggest news audiences in its history as Australians seek trustworthy sources to help them navigate pandemic conditions at home and keep across critical international events such as the situation in Afghanistan.
ABC News has now been Australia’s No 1 digital news brand since January 2020 in overall monthly unique audience, and also on smartphones and among women.
Major audience drivers in 2021 include coverage of the continuing impact of COVID-19 on all Australians; the ABC’s reporting of the Asia Pacific, including recent events in Afghanistan; the Regional & Local coverage from news teams across the country; and investigative reporting.
ABC Director, News Gaven Morris, says, “The audience appreciation for ABC News journalism and coverage is extraordinary. The demand for trustworthy, quality content on digital platforms is huge and still growing incredibly fast.
“Our TV and radio broadcasts remain strong on our live channels and traditional services and we’re also seeing great take-up through on-demand platforms such as ABC iview and ABC Listen.
“We’re proud Australians across age groups and in all parts of the community are turning to the ABC – and that we’re delivering the services they want just when they need us the most.”
Radio and audio
In 2021 year-to-date ABC News on Radio is reaching on average 880,000 Australians aged 10+ each week across the five metro cities. This is above all previous years except 2020, when record reach of 981,000 was achieved.
The key ABC Radio news and current affairs programs across ABC NewsRadio, ABC Local and RN are reaching an average of 2.3 million metro Australians aged 10+ every week. This is close to last year’s record of 2.4 million for the programs in their current timeslots.
With ABC NEWS expanding its offering of on-demand audio content in the Listen app, on-demand streams so far this year have been triple what they were last year and more than seven times higher than in 2019.
The live stream of ABC News Radio in the Listen app has recorded a 16% increase in weekly plays in 2021 on top of a 66% uplift in 2020.
The Coronacast podcast, launched in March 2020, has so far achieved 11 million streams in the Listen app, with streams hitting a record high of 234,000 in the week of 8-14 August.
Mobile and social
The ABC’s mobile app in particular is growing exceptionally fast, with daily users up 28% year-on-year so far in 2021, on top of 72% growth from 2019 to 2020.
ABC News also dominates third-party platforms. It’s the No 1 Australian news brand on Apple News (3.6 million monthly audience), No 1 on Instagram (700,000 followers) and No 2 on Facebook (4.5 million page followers).
The ABC News Australia YouTube channel has 1.4 million subscribers and ABC News In-Depth has 724,000 subscribers.
Since January 2020 the ABC’s live blogs have had 360 million page views.
The biggest live-blogged topics being COVID news, the bushfires, floods, US Election, the death of Prince Philip and the Tokyo Olympics.
ABC NEWS channel
The appetite among news consumers for live and on-demand content continues to increase, with consumption of ABC News on-demand video increasing rapidly.
Since 2018, daily live streams of the ABC NEWS channel in ABC iview have increased by nearly 400% (to 120,000) and daily live streams of the ABC News Australia channel on YouTube by 600% (to 140,000).
While industry-wide the overall metro weekly reach for TV continues to decline, the ABC NEWS channel has bucked the trend to increase its metro weekly reach from 12.5% in 2018 to 15.7%.
ABC News was first ranked the top online news brand five years ago with a unique audience in July 2016 of 6.5 million Australians, or 33% of the active online population.
In June this year 12.8 million Australians, or 51% of people aged 2+, used either the website or app.
During August the ABC News mobile app achieved its highest weekly audience on record of 1.4 million users.
Total ABC iview consumption and streams of ABC News Australia on YouTube were also the highest ever in the week.
The best long-form current affairs content is also finding a digital audience. Plays of ABC news and current affairs on-demand content on ABC iview have increased by 7% so far in 2021 on top of 44% growth in 2020.
On YouTube, views of on-demand videos from the ABC News Australia and ABC News In Depth channels have more than doubled from 2019 to 2021.
On-demand watch hours have grown even faster, driven by high watch times for current affairs full episodes.
The top videos so far this year have been Four Corners “Beirut Blast” (4.6 million views) and the Foreign Correspondent episodes “Inside Mexico’s Most Powerful Drug Cartel” (4.4m views) and “The Year Bali Tourism Stopped” (3.4m views).