News consumption in the early mobile age

The *commercial international broadcasting arm of the BBC have with InSites Consulting done a 9 country survey of news consumption by screens/devices.

  • Countries – Australia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, the UAE & the USA
  • Screens – Laptop (and desktop), Smartphone, Tablet, and TV.
  • Respondents – 3,610 (so we guess that’s sort of 400 ish per country)
  • Respondents are said to be “top income earners  and owners of at least three devices” as above

The released findings are of an overall nature, rather than by country, and show a, sort of, bias towards continuing/increasing TV screen use for news consumption.

Peoples news consumption time is TV 42% laptops 29% smartphones 18% and tablets 10%

43% of tablet owners watch more TV than they did 5 years ago with most (presumably more than 50%) ”saying they use tablets alongside TV”

Second screening abounds with 83% of tablet users saying “ …they have used their tablets while watching TV.”

In the ubiquitous breaking news scenarios they find that TV is tops! “Users turn to television as their primary and first device (42%), with the majority (66%) then turning to the internet to investigate stories further.”

As this is the *commercial side of the BBC there were questions on the ad front and TV again was found to have a strong showing.

By and large everyone expects to see adverting on all screens TV 87% Smartphones and laptops 84% and tablets 79%.

And they respond best to adverts online (Laptop/desktop) 1 in 4, then TV 1 in 5, with smartphones and tablets being last at present at 1 in 7.

In terms of our news consumption throughout the day by device they include on their infographic a graph of a “typical” 24 hour day’s usage.

Their words are “Smartphones and laptops are most popular throughout the working day, peaking at around 1pm. TV usage spikes dramatically from 5pm onwards, and at its peak time of 7pm TV use is 50% higher than for any other device.”

Now at an individual level we have carried out a local unitary survey and produced a very different graph of a typical working day spent largely in our office followed by an evening at home! Our words might be “desktop is most popular throughout the working day interspersed by occasional external smartphone peaks with TV taking over from mid to late evening whilst tablets peak early in the morning and late at night!

Jim Egan, CEO of BBC Global News Ltd concludes “There’s been speculation for years that mainstream uptake of smartphones, laptops and tablets will have a negative impact on television viewing, but this study has found that the four devices actually work well together, resulting in greater overall consumption rather than having a cannibalising effect.”

As per our headline these are very much the early days of “the mobile age” and we think increasingly TV news content will be consumed on mobile devices and less on TV screens. The evening peak may well remain but a lot of dual and triple screening will likel be involved. Advertising will be everywhere but we hope that increasingly for a modest fee it will become an option!

As far as online website news consumption is concerned we were somewhat surprised to find in yesterdays comShare European survey that the BBC, in terms of top 20 sites only figured in the UK ( 7th)and Ireland (12th) amongst the 18 countries.

*BBC World News and, the BBC’s commercially funded international news platforms are owned and operated by BBC Global News Ltd, part of the BBC News Group.

BBC World News, the international 24-hour news and information channel is available in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, and over 350 million households and 1.8 million hotel rooms. The channel’s content is also available on 151 cruise ships, 40 airlines and 23 mobile phone networks. For further information on BBC World News visit is one of the most respected brands on the internet and complements BBC World News in its offering of high quality, up-to-the minute international news, business, sports, weather, lifestyle, technology content and in-depth analysis. Launched in November 2007, the site attracts 58 million unique visitors each month and is available on PCs, tablets and mobile devices. It is the global online destination of choice for audiences who demand the full picture.

BBC Advertising sells advertising and sponsorship solutions on behalf of BBC World News and For more information on BBC Advertising see

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