Portugal – (F2) Patterns of news media use (consumption of news)

Score in short:

Consumption of news is less important than entertainment or fiction, especially given the overwhelming presence of television.

Score in detail:

The growth of Internet access and use, the increasing audience of cable TV, and the changes in free-to-air TV leadership (in favour of a strongly market-driven channel) are the three main elements to consider in the evolution of recent years (Santos 2010).

Television has an overwhelming presence: its total reachis 81.2 % of the population more than 4 years of age (about 8 million people) – see Table 5.

Table 5.       Reach, rate and share of television

Reach*Rate*Share*
20062009Dif.20062009Dif.20062009Dif.
TVI (private)66.8 %64.7 %-2.1 % 4.4 % 4.2 %-0.2 %30.0 %28.7 %-1.3 %
SIC (private)65.6 %63.4 %-2.2 % 3.8 % 3.4 %-0.4 %26.3 %23.4 %-2.9 %
RTP1 (public)64.6 %63.1 % -1.5 % 3.6 % 3.5 %-0.1 %24.5 %24.0 %-0.5 %
RTP2 (public)50.7 %49.8 %-0.9 % 0.8 % 0.8 % 0.0 % 5.4 % 5.8 % 0.4 %
Cable/Satellite31.4 %34.4 % 3.0 % 2.0 % 2.6 % 0.6 %14.0 %18.2 % 4.2 %
Total TV 81.4 %81.2 %-0.2 %14.6 %14.5 %-0.1 %100 %100 % 0 %

Sources: MARKTEST, “Anuário de Media & Publicidade 2006”, and MARKTEST, “Anuário de Media & Publicidade 2009”.

* Reach – Total audience: the percentage of people who contacted the channel at least for one second. Rate – Average audience: total number of seconds spent by the population contacting the channel vs. the year under analysis. Share – Percentage of the watching-TV population contacting each channel (average for the year).

In 2009, every citizen spent an average of 3 hours and 29 minutes a day watching TV. In spite of this, news and information do not have a very strong presence in the programming of the main channels, when compared with entertainment and fiction (particularly the popular Portuguese and Brazilian soap-operas – telenovelas). Still, the evening news bulletins of the three main chains (TVI, SIC and RTP1), all broadcasted at the same time (20h00), are usually present among the top-ten programmes every week, with audience rates around 12-14 % (meaning ca. one million people). But these news bulletins are very often a mix of (few) hard and (many) soft news items, entertainment and fait-divers, causing them to last for about one and a half hours. Since the information programmes (debates, interviews, news magazines, etc.) virtually disappeared from the free-to-air channels, the evening news bulletins got longer and longer, including those genres that usually would be part of specific information programmes (Lopes 2009).

In cable TV, there are three chains devoted to news and information: SIC Notícias (SIC group), TVI 24 (TVI group) and RTPN (RTP group – PBS). This means that the three main players in free-to-air television also have a smaller news channel in cable TV, although with comparatively low audience rates.

Compared with television, newspapers have a much lower reach (see Table 6). In terms of readership, Portugal consistently scores among the European countries with lower rates: only 59.5 copies per 1,000 inhabitants (adult population) are sold daily, compared with 99.2 daily copies per 1,000 inhabitants in Spain, 146 in France, or 538.3 in Norway, just to mention a few examples (WAN 2009). The figures for the main newspapers show important losses between 2006 and 2009, in terms of circulation. The same apparently does not occur in terms of audience, because more people read the online versions.

Table 6. Newspapers’ circulation¹ and audience²

  2006¹ 2009¹ Dif.¹ 2006²2009²Dif.²
Expresso (quality weekly)133,000111,000-16.5 % 7.3 % 7.7 % 0.4 %
Sol (‘quality’ weekly)*** 45,000****** 3.0 %***
Correio da Manhã (popular daily)115,000122,000 6.1 % 9.3 %12.4 % 3.1 %
Jornal de Notícias (popular daily) 97,000 91,000 -6.2 %11.4 %12.1 % 0.7 %
Público (quality daily) 46,000 37,000-19.6 % 4.5 % 4.5 % 0.0 %
Diário de Notícias (quality/popular daily) 38,000 34,000-10.5 % 3.2 % 4.1 % 0.9 %
I Informação** (quality daily)*** 10,000************
24 Horas *** (popular, sensationalist) 43,000 29,000-32.6 % 3.0 % 2.9 %-0.1 %
A Bola (sports daily)n.a.n.a.*** 8.0 % 9.4 % 1.4 %
Record (sports daily) 80,000 73,000 -8.8 % 7.9 %10.1 % 2.2 %
O Jogo (sports daily) 41,000 30,000-26.8 % 5.9 % 6.3 % 0.4 %
Destak (free daily)168,000* 99,000*-41.1 % 5.4 % 5.5 % 0.1 %
Metro (free daily)158,000*105,000*-33.5 % 5.6 % 6.0 % 0.4 %
Diário Económico (economy daily) 13,000 15,000 15.4 % 1.9 % 2.6 % 0.7 %
Jornal de Negócios (economy daily) 8,000 11,000 37.5 % 1.9 % 2.0 % 0.1 %

* For free dailies, it is not possible to give circulation figures, but only figures for ‘print copies’. ** The daily I Informação was launched in May 2009. *** The daily 24 Horas closed in June 2010.

Sources: APCT (Associação Portuguesa para o Controlo de Tiragem e Circulação), and MARKTEST, “Anuários de Media & Publicidade” 2006 e 2009.

As for the online diffusion, the sites of traditional newspapers count among the most visited in the country, in terms of news. There is a clear leadership of two sports dailies, fairly distant from general information dailies such as Público or Correio da Manhã. But the relevant element here is the impressive growth of visits to online sites, as exemplified in Table 7.

Table 7.       Access to online sites of some daily newspapers

Dec. 2007Dec. 2009
(millions)(millions)Dif. (%)
A Bola
(sports daily)
Visits
Page-views
8.8
34.5
15.8
84.4
+ 79.5 %
+ 144.6 %
Record
(sports daily)
Visits
Page-views
6.4
24.4
13.3
64.0
+ 107.8 %
+ 162.3 %
Público
(quality daily)
Visits
Page-views
3.4
18.3
5.7
25.0
+ 67.6 %
+ 36.6 %
Correio da Manhã
(popular daily)
Visits
Page-views
2.9
15.0
5.1
33.7
+ 75.9 %
+ 124.7 %

Sources: MARKTEST – Netscope (Ranking de tráfego de entidades Web).

The total reach of radio is 57 % of the population over 15 (Marktest 2009). But the radio station almost exclusively devoted to news (TSF) has an average audience of 4.2 %, which means less than 400,000 people. Still, the time spent listening to the radio seems to be stable over time, although there are changes concerning the places where people listen to radio – less at home, more in the car and over the Internet (Cardoso et al. 2009).

The overwhelming presence of television has relevant consequences for the business too: its share of advertising is much higher than the share for newspapers (see Table 8).

Table 8. Distribution of advertisement among media

200420052006200720082009
Share of advertisement in TV63.2 %68.3 %70.2 %70.3 %71.3 %73.4 %
Share of advertisement in Press22.5 %19.3 %18.2 %18.6 %17.9 %15.5 %
Share of advertisement in Radion.a. 5.2 % 4.0 % 4.2 % 3.8 % 4.1 %
Others (outdoors…)14.3 % 7.2 % 7.6 % 6.9 % 7.0 % 7.0 %

Source: MARKTEST, “Anuário 2009 – Anuário de Media & Publicidade”.