Australia’s media industry is substantially based on traditional means of access to news and entertainment. In a recent survey, 53% of Australians reported using television within the previous week to access news, while 40% reported using radio news, and 35% read newspapers. The internet is also a major player in delivering news to contemporary Australia: the same survey showed 32% of Australians use websites or mobile applications of major newspapers and other media within the previous week to access news, while 52% used social media.
Despite the growth of the internet, television remains the most popular source for Australians’ news access. Selecting for citizens who seek out news items in the media, 67% of Australians reported using television as their source of news within the given week. About 38% of these respondents called television their “main source” of news. Australia has three major providers of commercial television: the Nine Network, the Seven Network and Network Ten. The nation is divided into six regions, which have between two and four sub-markets each. These sub-markets have networks provided to them by all the three major commercial providers. Australia has phased out analogue television entirely: all the country’s televised media is provided by digital TV services.
39% of Australians who reported seeking out news in the media still use print newspapers to do so, but only 12% of this group is subscribed to a newspaper delivery service, and a full 60% of this group reports acquiring print news without paying. This suggests that most consumers of print news in Australia do not do so as a matter of routine. Subscriptions to this sort of news cost considerably more than online subscriptions, and the age demographics of Australian media consumption suggest they may be on the way out, as barely a third of Australians under the age of 35 report using traditional media of any kind, including television. Some of the leading papers in Australia include The Age, The Canberra Times, The Herald Sun, The Press, and the Sydney Morning Herald.
Broadcast radio remains a popular source of news for Australians, but only slightly more so than print newspaper. Australia has 280 commercially-funded radio stations whose revenue comes from advertising and 341 community radio stations, which are publicly funded.
60% of Australians who seek out news in the media reported using websites of some kind in order to do so, with 27% of these respondents citing it as their main source of news. The contrast in age demographics is striking: about 65% of Australians between 18-24 use online platforms as their main source of news, whereas roughly 72% of the 55+ bracket uses TV, radio, or print news. Only 10% of Australians who access online news report doing so through a paid subscription, and 75% of Australians not currently paying for a digital subscription reported that they were unwilling to do so, suggesting that paid advertising is the way forward for online news as a revenue stream. A full 23% of Australians, however, report using adblockers to keep ads off their screen.
Social media is the third highly prominent source of news for Australians, with about 56% of Australian news-seekers reporting having used it in the last week, with almost 20% of them calling it their main source of news. Age demographics suggest that social media as a news source is the fastest growing platform of all – just over 40% of Australians between the age of 18-24 called it their main source of news, whereas no age bracket older than 35 has even 20% of its cohort reporting it as their main source.