ABC is Australia’s most trusted media organisation, Radio tops trust study

The MEDIA Net Trust Survey, released today, reveals that social media is generally distrusted in Austraia, while the national broadcaster ABC is Australia’s most trusted media organisation.

Radio is the most trusted medium, when compared with television, social media and other media platforms.

The survey reveals that Facebook, and Social Media generally, is deeply distrusted in Australia, with half of all Australians (47%) distrusting social media, compared to only 9% who distrust the ABC.

According to Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine, trust is now firmly on corporate Australia’s agenda, “but distrust is the critical measure everyone’s ignoring.”

“The absence of the voices of distrust should be alarming every CEO and company director. Distrust is where our deepest fears, pain, and betrayal surface – the shock of discovering we were foolish to trust too much.

“And nowhere is that sense of betrayal more profound than in our media brands. When we subtract distrust from trust to achieve a Net Trust Score or NTS, we reveal a minus NTS for the Australian media industry,” she said.

Comparing across industries, the banking industry has an NTS of minus 18%, compared to the media industry with an NTS of minus 7%. So, while media industry is less toxic than banks, it is still in negative territory.

Media category Net Trust Scores or NTS (distrust score subtracted from trust score):

  1. Social Media     minus 42%
  2. Television          minus 16%
  3. Newspapers     minus 13%
  4. Internet             minus 7%
  5. Magazines        minus 4%
  6. Radio                minus 2%

After the ABC, SBS is Australia’s second most trusted media brand.

Fairfax comes in third as the only other media brand with a positive NTS.

SBS is also Australia’s most trusted commercial television network with an NTS of +5%, well ahead of the other three commercial networks, all with an NTS of between minus 6% and minus 10%.

“Australians told us that their trust of the ABC is driven by its lack of bias and impartiality, quality journalism and ethics. While their distrust of Facebook and Social Media is driven by fake news, manipulated truth, false statistics and fake audience measurement.”

According to survey respondents, their top-5 drivers of distrust in commercial television are:

  1. False news / fake news
  2. Bias
  3. News is sensationalised / focus on controversial stories
  4. Pushing commercial or political agenda
  5. Too much advertising

But why does distrust matter? According to Ms Levine:

  • Distrust triggers audience churn
  • Distrust kills audience engagement
  • Distrust kills advertiser spend
  • Distrust is the tipping point for reputational damage
  • Distrust is the bellwether for an unsustainable future

Roy Morgan asked approximately 4,000 Australians which brands they trust and which they distrust, beginning in October 2017, and sampled again across four rounds until April 2018. Then in May 2018 Morgans conducted an additional survey of 1,111 Australians asking which media they trust and distrust.

  • The survey was unprompted and open ended (quantitative + qualitative)
  • Respondents were recruited from the Roy Morgan Single Source database (>600,000)
  • Morgans took the trust score of each nominated media brand and subtracted the distrust score
  • The result is a Net Trust Score – Media NTS
  • Respondents were also asked WHY they trust or distrust nominated media brands

The Roy Morgan Net Trust Score – Topline Media Brands Report is available for purchase here.


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