Tinius Digest May 2020

Tinius Digest

Tinius Digest report on changes, trends and developments within the media business at large. This is our key findings from last month.

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Insight May 2020

Celebrities key distributors of misinformation

A new report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism shows that influencers, celebrities and political leaders are the primary sources of misinformation about COVID-19.

The number of English-language fact-checks rose more than 900% from January to March, but there were no examples of deepfakes.

Download the survey.

Three main findings:


1. Top-down misinformation

While politicians, celebrities, and other prominent public figures made up just 20% of the misinformation, they accounted for 69% of the total social media engagement.


2. Less completely fabricated

Most of the information (59%) involves various forms of reconfiguration, where existing and often correct information is spun, twisted, recontextualised, or reworked. Only 38% was completely fabricated.


3. Platforms neglect disinformation

59% of posts rated as false by fact-checkers remain up on Twitter. On YouTube, 27% remains up, while Facebook lets 25% of false-rated content remain up without any warning labels. 

People well informed despite 'infodemic'

A survey of news habits in six countries shows a well-informed population – despite what WHO describes as an ‘infodemic’ about COVID-19.

The countries included in the survey are Germany, Spain, the UK, Argentina, South Korea, and the US.

Download the survey.

Three main findings: 


1. Education leads to trust

In all six countries, people with low levels of formal education are much less likely to say that they rely on news organisations for news and information about the coronavirus, and more likely to rely on social media and messaging applications.



2. Trust has become political

There is a distinct political difference regarding trust in news organisations and the government. The difference is most visible in the US, where people on the left of the political spectrum tend to trust news organisations much more than they trust the government. People on the right trust the government much more than they trust news organisations.



3. Media superior to other platforms

People find news organisations much more trustworthy than news and information about the coronavirus on other platforms. The ‘trust gap’ between information from news organisations and information from social media is 33%.


58% of young, Norwegian gamers make in-game purchases

A new report from the Norwegian Media Authority looks into the gaming habits of Norwegian children and youths.

The report is based on surveys among children between the age of 9 and 18 and their parents.

Download the report (in Norwegian).

Three main findings: 


1. 'Everyone' is a gamer

96% of boys and 76% of girls between the ages of 9 and 18 play computer games regularly. The gender difference is minimal until the children reach the age of 13, after which the proportion of female gamers falls significantly.


2. Real money becomes virtual

As many as 58% of gamers between the age of 9 and 18 have purchased virtual upgrades while gaming. 38% of boys between 17 and 18 say they spend ‘a lot of money’ on in-game purchases.


3. Claims learning outcomes

70% believe games make them better in English, while 57% find gaming is social. The boys in the survey felt the learning outcomes of gaming to be higher than their female counterparts.

Norway tops World Press Freedom Index (yet again)

Reporters Without Borders have published an updated index, which evaluates the situation for journalists in 180 countries and territories. The Index has been published every year since 2002.

See the World Press Freedom Index 2020.

Three main trends:


1. Nordic dominance

Norway tops the Index for the fourth year in a row, while Finland is again the runner-up. Denmark (up 2 at 3rd) is next as Sweden (down 1 at 4th) have fallen as a result of increases in cyber-harassment.


2. Problematic and difficult

Western Europe is the exception to the rule: Reporters Without Borders believe freedom of the press is ‘good’ or ‘acceptable’ in only one-quarter of the countries. In the rest of the countries, the situation is described as ‘problematic’, ‘difficult’ or ‘very serious’.


3. Two NATO-members among the worst countries

Turkey (154) and Bulgaria (111), both NATO-members, are among the worst countries on the list. The situation for journalists in Turkey is now worse than, for example, in Belarus (153), Russia (149), South Sudan (138), and Haiti (83).

28% of Swedes still reads newspapers five days a week

The SOM-institute at the University of Gothenburg has published its yearly trend report. The report embraces trends for both media consumption, political and more general societal trends.

Download the report (in Swedish).

Three main findings:


1. Print consumption halved

The consumption of print newspapers has more than halved in Sweden in the last ten years. Still, 28% of Swedes read print newspapers five days a week.


2. The digital gap

Only 66% of Swedes with lower education have been online several times during the last week. The same number for Swedes with higher education is 98%. More 65-85-year olds are online regularly (77%) than people with lower education.


3. News trumps social media online

More Swedes go online to read digital news (79%) than using social media (72%) or use digital bank services (54%). Only 21% say they regularly read blogs. 

Correlation between Fox News star and increased spread of COVID-19

Misinformation and incorrect news about COVID-19 on TV are directly causing deaths in the US.

That is the preliminary findings from a comprehensive study of disinformation during the corona pandemic. 

Economists at Becker Friedman Institute for Economics conducted the study, which concentrates on Fox News stars Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson. Both have their own talk show on Fox News, but while Carlson warned his viewers about the danger of COVID-19, Hannity initially dismissed the risks.

Download the report.

Three main findings:


1. More deaths

The news reports from Fox News star Sean Hannity are strongly associated with a higher number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the early stages of the pandemic. 


2. Trajectory connection

On March 14, there were around 30 percent more COVID-19 infections among Sean Hannity’s viewers compared to Carlsons. The results suggest that in mid-March, after Hannity’s shift in tone, the diverging trajectories on COVID-19 cases begin to revert.


3. At least short term consequences

While the findings cannot yet speak to long-term effects, they indicate that provision of misinformation in the early stages of a pandemic can have important consequences for how a disease ultimately affects the population. 

53% may be willing to pay for news

A new report from the World Economic Forum shows that the willingness to pay for news is on the rise. 

The report is based on a survey of more than 9,100 consumers in six key markets: Germany, South Korea, the UK, and the US, China and India. 

Download the study.

Three main findings:


1. Majority willing to pay for news

53% would be willing to pay in the future, up from 16% who pay today. For entertainment, 70% are willing to pay, up from 44% today.


2. Young more willing to pay

Young people (aged 16–34) are the most likely to pay for content. A vast majority of consumers read, watch or listen to news (over 80%) and entertainment (almost 90%) for nearly 24 hours a week. 


3. The information divide

When looking at socioeconomic status, the study finds a higher proportion of paid news subscriptions among higher‐income or higher‐status individuals. ‘This suggests’, argues the report, ‘that concerns of emerging ‘information inequalities’, where wealthier consumers have access to more or higher‐ quality information, are very real’. 

COVID-19 will permanently change consumer behavior

According to an Accenture survey, consumers are realigning their purchasing priorities, personal lifestyles, and working practices post-pandemic.

The research queried more than 3,313 consumers in 15 countries on April 2-6, 2020.

Download the report.

Three main findings:


1. Changing habits

Consumers’ attitudes, behaviors and purchasing habits are changing—and many of these new ways will remain post-pandemic.


2. A rise in conscious consumption

While purchases are currently centered on the most basic needs, people are shopping more consciously, buying local and are embracing digital commerce. 45% of consumers said they’re making more sustainable choices when shopping and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.


3. Upgrading home technology

More than half of the consumers plan to buy or increase their usage of Wi-Fi (77%), voice-enabled digital assistants (57%), intelligent home devices (56%), self-service apps (56%), online recommendation apps (56%) and wearable technology (53%).

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