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Mapping Online News Discovery for Computer Users in the UK

Three news brands – the BBC, Mail Online and the Guardian – account for the majority of the time spent reading news on computers in the UK, according to a new study that tracked news consumption from 3400 users over a month. By contrast other national news brands are struggling with low engagement (time spent) and low levels of loyalty (frequency of use), which may make it hard to attract premium advertisers or charge for content in the future.

While the BBC News online consistently does best for direct traffic, social media and search provide a more level playing field with other national brands and emerging pure players able to attract considerable attention. Overall, The Guardian is more effective than the BBC at driving traffic via both social media and search with the Independent, the Canary and BuzzFeed attracting significant audiences for specific stories. The study also finds that those using social media consume more news brands than those who tend to go directly to a news website or those who tend to search for news. Those who use social media more heavily access an even wider range of brands.

Access the full report on our Digital News Report website or download the pdf below.