Interest in news has declined steadily in the past six years. The percentage of audience members who declared they were extremely or very interested in news went from 77% in 2017 to 43% in 2023; 9% of respondents say they have not used any source of news in the past week, and almost half report that they often or sometimes actively avoid the news.
The decline of printed newspaper circulations has continued. Clarín, the top-selling print title, reported Sunday circulation of 150,000 at the end of 2022, down from 200,000 the year before.1 Although digital subscriptions grew to 550,000, paywall revenues are just a third of the combined print and digital revenues. By comparison, Clarín's main competitor, La Nación, saw its digital subscriber base increase to 365,000 in the same period. Both newspapers announced they would be dropping their traditional Sunday magazines in 2023 to focus on online content. Other legacy print media, such as Perfil, Los Andes, and La Voz, have maintained their paywalls. However, digital natives such as Cenital and elDiarioAR have continued to rely on membership programmes to generate revenue. These packages combine access to news online with daily or weekly newsletters. For instance, Cenital sends more than 1.5 million emails a month, and has an opening rate of 48.5%.2
The two top online news outlets in early 2023 were Infobae, used by 38% of respondents, and the website and apps of cable news channel Todo Noticias (TN), which more than three out of ten reported having visited. Neither has a paywall or membership system. Willingness to pay for news remains low: only 12% of respondents say that they have paid for online news at all during the previous year.
Free-to-air television viewership has continued its decline, with 19.6% average ratings spread across all the stations during 2022. The top TV newscast, Telefé Noticias, had an average rating of 10.4% throughout the year. Although there are seven news cable stations for a population of just over 45 million people, their combined average rating was 8.4%.3 Levels of television viewership increased in November and December, as Argentines followed the progress of their national team in the football World Cup in Qatar.
Print legacy media and broadcast and cable news have tended to reflect the country's polarisation, as ownership of these news outlets is concentrated in the hands of organisations with long-standing political relationships. For instance, both Clarín and La Nación and their sister cable news channels have been critical of President Alberto Fernández and Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Conversely, print-based Página/12, owned by a large trade union, and C5N, purchased in 2012 by businessman Cristóbal López who has ties to Ms Kirchner, have been supportive of the government. La Televisión Pública, the public broadcaster, cannot function as an effective alternative to private media, due both to its relatively low ratings and the perception that it is biased in favour of the government.
In this scenario of declining interest in news, our data show that access to information content on social media platforms has decreased across the board: fewer than half of respondents say they have read news on Facebook, and only around three out of ten report having accessed news on Instagram, WhatsApp, or YouTube.
Although podcasts have continued to be a source of information for around a third of the audience members, their uptake has not increased. Reading and watching, in that order, rather than listening, are still people’s preferred ways to consume news online. This is reflected in the increasing number of newsletters available, both from news organisations and individual journalists, on topics as diverse as politics, literature, sports, and parenting.
Although neither polarisation nor relatively high distrust of media are new developments, the levels of both disinterest in news and active news avoidance have never been higher. It remains to be seen whether the campaign coverage for October’s presidential election will affect these trends.
Eugenia Mitchelstein and Pablo J. Boczkowski
Center for the Study of Media and Society, Argentina (MESO)
News consumption has declined in every medium: news sites and apps, television, and newspapers, and also on social media networks which had in previous years seen growth.
Pay for online news
Listen to podcast in the last month
Trust in news overall
Trust in news I use
Trust in news media in general has declined 5pp, from 35% to 30%. Moreover, trust in media sources respondents say they use has also decreased from 42% to 36%. Argentina is among the countries with the lowest level of media trust. However, individual brands such as Telefé Noticias and TN have continued to be perceived as trustworthy by most audiences.
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2 Soledad Domínguez. ‘How do Independent Media in Argentina Hold up in the Economic Crisis?’, LatAm Journalism Review.
3 Data from Kantar IBOPE media, Argentina.