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Is printed news destined for the litter tray as more Kiwis head online?

05 Jan 2015

More Kiwis are reading newspapers online, according to a survey on the use of digital media. 

The survey, conducted by local PR firm Impact PR, shows more than two-thirds of Kiwis have read a newspaper online, or on a smartphone or tablet app, during the past year.

While uptake of electronic newspapers was high across the board, over three-quarters of those surveyed aged from 35 to 44 years old had read one online, and 61% of those aged over 65 had also done so. One in five Kiwis expects to read newspapers online or via an app in the next 12 months, according to the survey.

“What is heartening to see from this survey, is that Kiwis still have an appetite for news and want to be informed on what is happening around them,” says Fleur Revell, Impact PR director.

“Clearly the emergence of online newspapers is something that Kiwis have taken to quickly and I think this growth is likely to continue as the convenience of digital media becomes even more ubiquitous through smart devices.”

Despite the popularity of digital newspapers, and many people expecting to increase their use of digital media when it comes to reading both newspapers and books online, there are widespread concerns about how this will affect literacy.

“Over half of those surveyed believe the increasing digital media consumption in New Zealand will have a negative impact on literacy levels here,” says Revell. “Even the 18-24 year olds who have grown up in a digitally-savvy world are concerned, with 47% believing this will have a negative result.”

While newspapers have a strong digital uptake, consumers appear to prefer their magazines printed, with just 25% of people saying they have downloaded or read an electronic magazine in the last year. Most consumers also don’t intend to seek out magazines in a digital form either - with 41% of those surveyed not intending to download or view an e-magazine in the next 12 months.

Meanwhile, digital radio and TV are both seeing increases in popularity. Nearly half (47%) of the respondents had listened to radio online or on a smartphone or tablet app in the last 12 months, and 17% intended to consume more in the coming year.

The uptake of TV content online is very high, with 59% of those surveyed having watched TV online, or on a smartphone or tablet app, in the last year. A third of people also plan to watch more or consume it for the first time in the coming year, with 45% intending to continue watching about the same amount.  

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