Covid changed news consumption habits of business leaders: survey

A BBC study shows that leaders in Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia have become increasingly conscious about trustworthiness and misinformation when sharing news.

(Shutterstock)
(Shutterstock)

A new survey by BBC Global News showed that Covid has changed how business leaders in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Australia consume, engage with, and share news. The survey was made up of 250 respondents from Australia, 250 from Singapore, and 150 in Hong Kong.

Singapore

Leaders in Singapore are increasingly concerned about trustworthiness with 71 per cent citing it a key attribute when considering news sources followed closely by objectivity (55 per cent), having a global perspective (54 per cent) and impartiality (48 per cent). Overall, 70 per cent of respondents are now more concerned about misinformation than they were before the pandemic, with 59 per cent believing that misinformation could be directly harmful for their business.

The pandemic has also changed news consumption habits among Singapore's business leaders, with 59 per cent saying they are now consuming more news, with 58 per cent accessing this news through online channels or via apps. In terms of the impact of news on business, 77 per cent say that Covid has made them realise how much global news can affect their business, with 63 per cent of business leaders now more likely to use global news sources to inform their business decisions. Over 60 per cent of respondents said they share a piece of news at least once a week.

Australia

Similar to Singapore, leaders in Australia are majorly concerned about trustworthiness of news, with 72 per cent of respondents indicating that they are now more concerned about misinformation than they were before the pandemic, and 70 per cent saying that misinformation could be harmful for society.

The survey also found that 66 per cent of respondents indicated that the pandemic has changed the way they think about the impact of international news on the Australian business landscape and society at large, with 30 per cent also reporting that they were more likely to now choose international over domestic news sources than in the past. In fact, the growth rate of international news consumption came in 15 per cent faster than the average of national publishers among Australia's CEOs, which clearly demonstrates a shifting news media habit amongst senior business leaders away from relying on domestic publishers.

On top of that, over a quarter of respondents indicating that they now share more news with their peers and business contacts compared to before the pandemic. This need for trust when sharing media was reciprocal, with 72 per cent indicating that they believe it would reflect badly on them if a story they shared turned out to be untrue and 72 per cent also noting that they were annoyed by those who shared stories from unreliable sources.

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, 45 per cent of respondents said the pandemic has made them more conscious about engaging with peers. This means that news continues to be a form of social currency among business leaders.

The pandemic has also changed consumption habits, with half of respondents indicating that they are now consuming more news, with the majority (61 per cent) of senior business leaders accessing this news through online channels or via apps. When questioned about Covid's impact on their business, 66 per cent of respondents said the pandemic has made them realise how much global news stories can affect their business, while 83 per cent said they are more likely to use global news sources to inform their business decisions.

Of course, with false news a major issue during the pandemic, just over half of leaders said they are more concerned about misinformation now than they were pre-Covid. Overall, 69 per cent of respondents say it would reflect badly upon them if a news story they shared turned out to be untrue, and 79 per cent said misinformation is harmful for society.

In addition, 80 per cent said they were sharing news at least once a week with peers and business contacts, with nearly half saying that the sharing frequency has increased compared to before the pandemic. On top of that, nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of respondents only shared news from trusted sources, with another 68 per cent indicating that they respected people who shared helpful news and information.

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