What Ofcom’s latest survey means for Welsh charity communicators

In July last year I posted this update on Ofcom’s latest research on news media in Wales, and pulled out some key points for Welsh charity communicators.

It’s now published its latest Media Nations report, and I’ve read it so you don’t have to!

Here are some of my key takeaways…

TV news still has the big audiences in 2022

Traditional TV viewing hours are down, continuing the long-term trend.

But very often as charity communicators we want to shape the news agenda, and TV still dominates.

Among adults who follow the news, the top three sources of news about Wales are:

1. BBC One (46%)

2. ITV Wales (28%)

3. Facebook (21%)

Overall, 60% of this group get their Welsh news from TV, well ahead of social media, radio, newspapers and websites.

So if you can provide stories and content that works well on BBC Wales Today or ITV Wales News, you have a good chance of making a big impact.

This is even more important if you want to reach older people – over 55s watch nearly five times as much TV as young adults!

Radio and podcasts: great for engaging your audience in more depth

We’re still a nation of radio listeners, and the Ofcom report shows that more than nine in ten people said they had tuned in to radio in the last week.

It’s been so disappointing that Wales has lost so much diverse and locally-made commercial radio in recent years (let’s hope things change soon), but there are still interesting programmes and podcasts out there.

While listening is dominated by big UK stations, just under one in five of us listen to BBC Radio Wales and Radio Cymru each week, and local commercial services reach two in five.

And it’s important to remember podcasts too, which now reach 13% of Welsh adults.

Podcasts and BBC radio are fantastic ways to explore issues in depth, especially with more niche or political audiences.

Think of the conversations on programmes like Dros Ginio, Sunday Supplement or podcasts like Hiraeth – your charity’s story might have people glued to their headphones!

Social video: engage young (and not so young) adults with Tiktok

We’re becoming a nation that watches more social video and less traditional TV.

The rise of Tiktok is truly astonishing. Only launched globally five years ago, it now reaches 36% of adult internet users in Wales, who spend an average of just over half an hour a day on the platform.

As you probably expect, Tiktok is most popular among younger adult users, with 79% of online 15-24-year-olds in Wales using it.

Facebook and Messenger are popular across different age groups and over half of Welsh adults watch Youtube.

If your charity isn’t using social video yet, then this research shows it’s definitely something you should at least consider.

Not sure where to start? Check out this guest blog from Citizens’ Advice on the Charity Comms website: what to know when starting a Tiktok channel.

News via social media and websites

If we look at sources of news ‘in general’ in Wales, social media is in second place (51%) after TV (77%).

The pattern is similar when we look at news specifically about Wales, with TV on 60% and social media on 27%. Facebook (21%) is the main social media platform, with Twitter second on just 6%.

I would expect a good chunk of this to involve sharing links from news websites – so what does the data tell us about those?

In terms of Welsh news, ‘Websites/apps of online news organisations’ comes out on top at 16%, and ‘Websites/apps of newspapers’ and ‘Websites/apps of TV and radio companies’ tied on 11%.

Overall, the data seems a little contradictory and confusing, and it’s not easy to make comparisons. I suspect the true potential reach of stories on Welsh news websites is higher than 16% – do people distinguish that clearly between, say, a story on Wales Online vs a link to the same story in their Facebook feed?

That said, here’s what I think:

  • BBC Wales online is still probably the key outlet for securing reach and influence for Welsh charities, but…
  • Communicators should think about how a story will ‘perform’ on online as much as the site where it first appears. People often read and share stories on social media based on the story itself, not just where they’ve read it.
  • As always, think about your audience first. For instance, Golwg 360 has a strong following among Welsh speakers, and those who want human interest stories will be drawn to Wales Online.

Meanwhile, it was sad to see the demise of the National Wales, as reported here by Nation.Cymru…


Image by Gracini Studios from Pixabay

The Media Nations report doesn’t cover everything we might want to know about the Welsh media, but it does reveal several useful trends.

We still have a fairly weak national media, and this desperately needs addressing. But often there are opportunities to engage our target audiences.

It’s easier to reach those who are ‘politically engaged’, especially if, like us, they are interested in what is happening at the Welsh level. Meanwhile, social media trends such as the rise of TikTok open up alternatives if we want to reach others.

It’s all about choosing the right tool for the job, and as always, remember to think about your audience first!

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