Tinius Digest April 2022

Tinius Digest

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

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Insight April 2022

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6 out of 10 young adults get news from social media

Statistics Norway have published Norwegian Media Barometer—their annual report on Norwegians’ media consumption.

Download the report.

Three main findings:

1

Social media important news source

On an average day, 60 percent of Norwegians between the ages of 16 and 24 consume news on social media. This is compared to 39 percent of the population as a whole.

2

Editorial content widespread

79 percent of the population uses editorial sources on traditional platforms to stay updated on an average day. This includes news from newspapers, online newspapers, radio or TV.

3

Age gap in daily internet usage

Nine out of ten people aged 9-79 use the internet on an average day, but there is a big difference between agewise. Almost everyone between the ages of 13 and 44 years old visit the internet on an average day, while the proportion among those aged 67-79 is 68 percent—which has not increased since 2020.

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NATO: Manipulation service providers are winning the digital arms race

In their annual experiment, Nato Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence (StratCom) has again documented how easy it is to buy fake engagement on social media.

Download the report.

Three main findings:

1

Easy, cheap, and quick

It is still easy, cheap, and quick to manipulate social media platforms. The experiment identified 8.036 accounts used for social media manipulation—more than 96 percent remained online and active after four weeks.

2

Significant differences

There is a significant difference among platforms in their ability and willingness to counter manipulation of their services. TikTok showed improvement across all the areas measured in the experiment. Twitter remains the industry leader in 2021, with TikTok and Facebook close behind.

3

Manipulation winning the digital arms race

Despite notable improvements by some, none of the six platforms studied are doing enough to prevent manipulation of their services. The manipulation service providers are winning the digital arms race.

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Internet advertising is growing exponential

Interactive Advertising Bureau has published its annual Internet Advertising Revenue Report.

Download the report.

Four main findings:

1

Exponential growth

Year-over-year (YoY) internet advertising revenue growth nearly tripled from the year prior, at 35.4 percent between 2020 and 2021—which is the highest increase since 2006. Programmatic’s share of total digital revenue (including search) increased YoY to 52.3 percent (vs. 50.9 percent in 2020).

2

'The future is streaming'

The 2021 growth demonstrates that ‘the future is streaming’, with an astonishing 50.8 percent YoY digital video revenue growth (including CTV/OTT). Revenue totaled $39.5 billion, and digital video’s share of digital revenue grew to 20.9 percent, up 2.2 percentage points from 2020.

3

The sound of growth

Digital audio (including podcasting) saw the highest growth rate, by format, in 2021, with a YoY growth rate of 57.9 percent. The majority of digital audio growth was from mobile devices, as revenue increased 66.1 percent YoY, and mobile’s revenue share increased to 85 percent from 81 percent. Revenue totaled $4.9 billion, and digital audio’s share of total digital revenue grew slightly from 2.2 percent in 2020 to 2.6 percent in 2021.

4

Influencers and content creators

Social media advertising saw strong growth in 2021 as consumers continue to use both industry veterans like Meta platforms, Twitter and Snapchat, and newer platforms like TikTok. Revenue totaled $57.7 billion, up 39.3 percent from 2020. The proliferation of influencers and content creators has been a catalyst for social media’s growth in usage and attention, making the channel an overall more attractive vehicle for brand advertising and partnerships.

5

Content credibility

30 percent of British adults are not sure of the credibility of the content of what they read digitally. In a test, only 22 percent managed to identify all the examples of fake news presented to them.

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European journalists are increasingly vulnerable

The partner organizations to the Council of Europe Platform to Promote the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists have published their annual report.

Download the report.

Four main findings:

1

Increasingly vulnerable

Journalists are increasingly vulnerable to direct attacks on their physical safety and integrity. In 2021, there were 82 alerts in that category—a 51 percent increase compared to 2020. Many of the attacks took place during public protests.

2

Six journalists killed

Six journalists were killed in Europe in 2021. In Greece, the Netherlands, and Turkey, journalists were directly targeted. Another journalist died in Georgia following the violence while covering street protests.

3

Media bashing and hate speech

Violence against journalists during street protests is fed by a wave of media bashing and an avalanche of hate speech on social networks. In many cases, the hate is prompted by political figures who directly target journalists, questioning their independence and legitimacy and making them more vulnerable to physical aggression.

4

Strategic lawsuits

Legal action against journalists brings severe risks to journalism. SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) continued to be used as a tool to silence critical media and journalists throughout Europe. Sixteen alerts document civil lawsuits to obtain damages or curb critical reports. These lawsuits are an effective tool of censorship in Europe.

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Generally untrusting audiences indifferent toward news

Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has published a report examining how audiences who lack trust in most news organizations navigate the digital information environment.

Download the report.

Three main findings:

1

Indifferent toward news

‘Generally untrusting’ audiences were mostly indifferent towards news they encountered on platforms. Many saw little news at all while using platforms, and when they did the news, they saw tended to be focused on soft news topics, such as stories about entertainment and celebrities, rather than news about public affairs.

2

Minimal information

Because few tended to click through the links they saw, many made quick, in-the-moment judgments about the credibility of the reported information. Most focused on the minimal information conveyed through the platforms themselves, in headlines or visuals, or fell back on what they already knew of brands’ reputations, which, in many cases, could be pretty limited and often hostile.

3

Politicised stories

Topic relevance played a crucial role in how this group talked about trust. Many expressed skepticism generally of all news, but they often singled out political subjects and politicized stories as the content they tried to avoid altogether. In other news stories, many did not profess to care much about trustworthiness because they saw such topics mainly through the lens of entertainment or a way to pass the time online.

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Local newspapers less local after corporate acquisitions

Researchers at McGill University have looked into the consequences for local newspapers subject to corporate takeovers from media conglomerates. The study includes 31 corporate-owned local newspapers in the U.S.

Download the study.

Three main findings:

1

Reduced quality journalism

There is a significant relationship between predatory corporate acquisition and a reduction in the quantity and quality of local journalistic output.

2

Less local news

Corporate acquisitions are associated with a reduced volume of local content produced. The coverage of local places following acquisition is significantly more concentrated than before the acquisition, and articles produced to be shared across regional hubs of corporate-owned publications are significantly less local—and discursively more national—than articles produced for a single local market.

3

To distinct acquisition models

There are two distinct corporate acquisitions: (1) acquisitions where newspapers are bought by corporate owners resulting in significant declines in newsroom staff, and (2) corporate consolidation models where corporate ownership leads to high levels of article sharing across regional publications.

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Partisan media constitute a democratic challenge

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and Yale University have paid regular Fox News viewers to watch CNN instead for a month.

Download the study. 

Three main findings:

1

Changed political and factual beliefs

Despite regular Fox viewers being predominantly strong partisans, the study found various effects of watching CNN on factual beliefs, attitudes, perceptions of issues’ importance, and overall political views.

2

Selectively reporting

The study shows that these effects stem from partisan outlets selectively reporting information, leading viewers to learn a biased information set. Consistent with this, treated participants concluded that Fox concealed negative news about President Trump.

3

Democratic challenge

Partisan media impacts voting behavior and does not only present its side with an electoral advantage—it may present a challenge for democratic accountability.

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