Australians more prepared to pay for news content, but less interested: DNR

Women are less interested than men, young people are moving to social media and one in five Australians pay for online news, according to the 2023 Digital News Report (DNR): Australia.


Lead author of the News and Media Research Centre (N&MRC) at the University of Canberra report, Professor Sora Park told UC that the findings were generally good news for the media industry.

“This year the number of people paying for online news continues to grow, placing Australia among the top countries globally.

One in five Australians pay for online news, and those who already pay are increasing the number of subscriptions – we found the top reason consumers are paying for access is to consume higher quality news than they might find through free sources.

People are not supportive of having news automatically selected for them based on their friends’ consumption – with 46 per cent agreeing it isn’t a good way to get news.

Over a third of people – 35 per cent – prefer news algorithms to select news based on their own past consumption.”

The DNR is part of a global research project involving 46 countries, coordinated by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford. In Australia it sampled 2,025 people, reflective of the population demographic that has access to the Internet.

Australia’s previously high interest in news, possibly connected to lockdowns and working from home, fell to 53 per cent. Social media users, young people, and women the most likely to scroll past or ignore news.

Young people however are increasingly using social media for news consumption. News podcasts are growing, according to the report, with 38% of respondents having listened to one in the last month.

Other key findings include:

  • News access continues to decline, with heavy news consumption in Australia going down by four percentage points and traditional news media like TV, print and radio continuing to decline.
  • Trust is up slightly, with general trust in news rising by two percentage points to 43 per cent.
  • Australians are careful when talking about politics – more than one-third (37 per cent) say they don’t discuss politics online or on social media, compared to the 22 per cent who will talk about it in person or on the phone.
  • Australians want good news – 56 per cent of us say we want positive news stories, and are less likely to avoid stories that make us laugh (8 per cent).
  • There has been a significant drop in heavy news use by Gen Z to 36 per cent – down 10 percentage points.

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