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Digital News Report Australia 2023: One in five Australians are now paying for online news, trust is slightly up but women lose interest

14 June 2023: Australians lead globally when it comes to paying for online news (22 per cent); trust in general news has slightly increased since last year (43 per cent); the use of social media platforms for accessing news is on the rise; women are increasingly losing interest in news (43 per cent); and news avoidance overall remains high (69 per cent) – these are some of the key findings from Digital News Report (DNR): Australia 2023 released today by the University of Canberra’s News and Media Research Centre (N&MRC).


The survey found that one in five Australians pay for online news, which is up by four percentage points when compared to 2022, and placed well above the global average of 16 per cent. The biggest growth was seen among those who pay for three or more news services.

“Australians are willing to pay to access high-quality and trustworthy online news, but they are concerned about algorithms and editors choosing news to match their interests and fear they are missing out on important information and a diversity in viewpoints,” said DNR lead author Professor Sora Park from the University of Canberra’s N&MRC.

“This year’s survey reveals that news subscriptions are also facing the heat of cost-of-living, as many cite it as a key reason for changing their level of access, including cancellations,” she added.


Australians’ general trust in news rose by two percentage points to 43 per cent, but some gaps in trust emerged. For example, there was an eight percentage point rise in trust among Australian men, while women’s trust declined by three percentage points, widening the gender gap.

Age and education were other factors where gaps in trust emerged – consumers with higher levels of education showed more trust in news, whereas the oldest and youngest generations’ trust levels declined.


Australian public service media such as the ABC and SBS saw strong support from Australians this year. Up to 60 per cent regarded it as important to society, and for more than half of the respondents it was important to them, personally.

The ABC and the SBS continue to be the most trusted news brands in the survey.

“The trust in public service media is reflective of the commercial and political independence of these channels. People who are concerned about misinformation are also much more likely to think publicly funded media is important,” said Dr Park.


Women’s interest in news overall has dropped to a record low of 43 per cent, while overall interest in news also dipped to 53 per cent, down by 11 percentage points since 2017.

“Australian women were noted among the lightest consumers of news, globally,” said Dr Park.

Finance news in Australia has the highest gender gap with only 30 per cent of women, compared to 54 per cent of men, saying they find finance and economics news easy-to-understand.

Gender gaps were also noted in news avoidance behaviour. While men avoid topics such as social justice issues, entertainment and climate change news, women did the same for news on sport.

“But they are not the only ones at risk of being left behind, as Gen Z’s heavy news consumption also dropped by ten percentage points.”


Social media platforms being viewed as a news source is on the rise, particularly among young Australians. Facebook is becoming less important and video-based platforms such as TikTok are gaining traction. For Gen Z consumers, Instagram (26 per cent) and TikTok (17 per cent) are gaining popularity as news platforms. Almost one in ten Australians (eight per cent) is using TikTok to get news.

“It was interesting to note how the audiences access different news sources depending on the platform they’re on. For instance, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, people pay most attention to news from mainstream media and news sources, whereas on TikTok, people pay attention to news from ordinary people and social media personalities,” shared Dr Park.

Twitter users were found to be more in tune with national news, whereas Facebook, Instagram and TikTok users preferred entertainment, celebrity and fun news.

Other key findings include:
  • Australians prefer positive news stories, stories offering solutions, watchdog news reports and explainers;
  • The number of people using search engines to search for news stories increased by eight percentage points at 30 per cent;
  • Australians are careful when talking about politics – more than one-third (37 per cent) say they don’t discuss politics online or on social media, compared to 22 per cent who talk about politics in person or on the phone;
  • News avoidance in Australia is higher than the global average at 69 per cent. For young people, the most common ways of avoiding news were ‘checking the news less often’ (32 per cent), ‘ignoring, scrolling past’ (31 per cent), and ‘avoiding particular news sources’ (30 per cent);
  • The popularity of podcasts is growing with 38 per cent of respondents saying they have listened to a podcast in the last month; and
  • For the first time, smart TVs are a more popular device for news (29 per cent), than tablets (23 per cent).

The DNR report is available here.