BBC, Sky and Guardian most-trusted news brands, thanks to coronavirus coverage

Survey indicates 'mainstream media' is becoming less pejorative term.

Havas: conducting survey on ongoing basis
Havas: conducting survey on ongoing basis

The BBC has become the most-trusted news brand on coronavirus, with 64% of respondents selecting it as a reliable source of information from a list of media brands. The public-service broadcaster beat Sky News, which was voted for by 29% of participants, followed by The Guardian (15%), according to research from Havas Media Group.

The Covid-19 Media Behaviours Report, which surveyed nearly 1,500 respondents, found that more than half (53%) of Brits are using BBC News more than before Covid-19 hit the UK – more than double the proportion of people for any other channel.

It is an encouraging trend for traditional media owners, whose perceived veracity has taken a hit due to the spread of fake news across social media.

The research found that cross-media consumption has increased as a result of the outbreak, with out-of-home and cinema being the exceptions. Nearly half (48%) of respondents said they were watching more live TV because of the virus, 40% said they were visiting social media sites more and 39% have increased their streaming consumption.

Younger people are become more engaged with media than before, according to the study. There has been a 60% increase in streaming among people aged 18 to 24 and a 49% increase in live TV viewing.

News brands are benefiting in particular, with 32% of all consumers saying they are reading online or offline newspaper content more often. Meanwhile, 29% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 31% of 25- to 34-year-olds say they are consuming more news brands.

Unsurprisingly, social media is also benefiting. Facebook and WhatsApp are gaining the most – 33% said they are using Facebook more than usual and 28% are spending more time on WhatsApp.

Havas Media will conduct the survey on an ongoing fortnightly basis to track consumer media behaviour during the crisis.

Eva Grimmett, Havas Media’s chief strategy officer, said: "This study really highlights the role that trusted, meaningful media play in times of crisis. While most channels have seen an increase in consumption in response to Covid-19, our research reveals a much greater reliance on live TV and a need for trusted news brands such as the BBC. We’re looking forward to seeing how this behaviour develops as the situation evolves in the coming weeks."

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