Media consumption in Bristol – fast-paced, varied, and versatile

Market Research specialists Censuswide have recently conducted new research to better understand how people living in and around Bristol consume media. Internet, social media, and radio have taken the top spots in the survey, with around three quarters of those asked saying that the internet is their main source of news.

It’s not highly surprising to discover that the internet is the most popular way in which people consume media, but a breakdown by age provides insight into the surprisingly high usage of the internet across older generations in addition to younger ones. While 78% of the 18-34 bracket cite the internet as a main source of news and media, this figure only declined slightly for older age groups, with 77% of 35-54-year-olds and 73% of those aged over 55. With just a 5% gap between the top and bottom age catchments, it’s clear that internet has become the main source of content across the city.

As we head into the 2020s, social media is the dominant feature in the media landscape, with 58% of those surveyed using platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter to get their news. Popular primarily amongst the younger demographic, 77% of those aged 18-34 said that they use social media platforms as their main source of media consumption. The time spent browsing social media is also proving to be significant.

At nearly three hours per day, young people clock almost twice the time spent on social media than their elders. However, despite only racking up one-and-a-half hours a day on average, those aged 35 and above are engaging with social media in a consistent and sustainable way, with no subsequent decrease in the time spent on social media sites after the age of 55. The difference in time spent on internet news sources between age groups has not translated directly to time spent on social media.

Whilst younger audiences flock to social media, those aged 55+ have also shown strong loyalty to radio, with 60% of 55+ year olds tuning in to the airwaves, compared to just 34% of 18-34-year olds. The high popularity of the internet, social media, and radio has highlighted a change in how people in Bristol are accessing media. Versatile, on-the-go formats with a broad reach and wide range of choice are favoured above other more rigid forms, such as magazines or television, which lack the choices available on interactive and intuitive news sources.

With the rise of news apps, on-demand streaming, and journalists or news personalities all taking to social media platforms, phones and tablets have become the new (portable) face of media consumption.

As well as added ease and accessibility, the turn towards social media for news content also marks a move away from verified news outlets. For younger audiences in particular, the credibility of national news outlets and mainstream media no longer carries the same currency. Social media provides thousands of voices sharing, discussing and commentating on a story, serving up a broader perspective.

Traditional media sources are by no means dead, with around a quarter of those in Bristol continuing to read regional papers for their news – and television still proving to be an overwhelmingly popular choice amongst the older demographic, with 76% of those aged 55 or over switching on for their news.

However, in a city as young, vibrant and innovative as Bristol – it’s perhaps no surprise that it’s digital content that comes out on top. Social media is continuing to grow its reach, influence and impact in an impressive and unrelenting way.

To quote Bill Gates, “content is King”, but fast-paced, varied, and versatile content is even better.

For more information get in touch with Anita Kershaw at or 0207 251 9955

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