According to a report prepared by Attention Marketing Research (combination of know-how and experience of market researchers from PMR Consulting & Research and consultants of Attention Marketing) websites are the source of knowledge about current events in Poland and abroad for over a half of Poles. One in five respondents obtains information from social media and daily newspapers, while 8% - from blogs and vlogs. More than a half of Poles get information from television but public TV channels have very low levels of trust. Approximately 28% of Poles also use information about current developments provided by the radio and only 14% - by opinion magazines.

Different Way of Consuming Information

Websites are sources of knowledge about current developments in Poland and in the world for 54% of the respondents. For 21% of them these are social media, for 8% - blogs and vlogs. This is also the reason why 22% of the respondents browse daily newspapers.

“In terms of popularity websites only slightly give in to television, and social media – to newspapers. This is a vast change of how information is consumed,” says Adam Sanocki, managing partner in Attention Marketing consulting company. “Traditional media are currently under an extraordinary pressure. On the one hand, they compete with their credibility and solidity of journalism, on the other, they compete against time to be the fastest source of news. Frequently, it is difficult to combine these two approaches and this peculiar schizophrenia is reflected in the quality of materials the media present. And if you put political pressures on the top of that, the disaster is inevitable. The target audiences are torn between the lack of trust in the media and the awareness that the Internet is full of both truth and lies, which usually never verified,” ­sums up Adam Sanocki.

First and foremost, we have a big shift, which is still intensifying, in how we use mass media. Young people less and less frequently focus their attention on traditional media – the material ones. They rather consume content on their computers and mobile devices. The older ones are still accustomed to their television sets, daily newspapers or weekly magazines and they are less prone to go online or turn mobile,” says Błażej Dawid, market researcher from PMR Consulting & Research. “If modern technologies push out the old ones, the consumption behaviours will also change. Now, a few minutes after an event, information about it goes around the world and lands instantly in our phones, on social media walls or news websites, and the consumers no longer need to wait until the evening news program or for the morning paper. They get them at work, when commuting or during their lunch.”

According to Attention Marketing experts, as the information system is atomised and decentralised, people are susceptible to living in so-called filter bubbles, to manipulation or even informational exclusion.

„Social media want to encourage us to spend more time with them. This is why they care about the feelings of their users. Thus, social media frequently surround the users with information that confirm their views and go along with their interests. This forms a filter bubble – our micro-social media world – which we build with every single mouse-click online,” explains Adam Sanocki. “We are presented postings of friends the user has conversed with before, information from the websites the user has visited and liked. As a result, you may get an impression that the entire surrounding reality does nothing but nodding in agreement. And the real world is often completely different – it’s multi-dimensional and less obvious than your friends’ opinions might suggest,” concludes Adam Sanocki. “Our survey shows that Poles still use websites directly, not via search engines or social media. The 21% for whom social media are the sources of news is less than a half compared to American survey results (PEW) and this is fairly positive considering the filter bubbles,” adds Sanocki.

Just like in the real world, in social media we surround ourselves with people who are like us and share our world views. On the one hand, this is a natural behaviour stemming from the essence of social bonds. However, on the other, it poses a threat of isolation and an incomplete picture of a given phenomenon or fact,” says Błażej Dawid. “Therefore, it is worth remembering to carefully approach the content on social media and it’s best to verify the information using other sources. This is how we will be more certain that our perception of the information is more accurate.”

Television is Lying?

According to 52% of Polish respondents, the Polish public TV is not trustworthy. Only 18% stated they trust the public broadcaster. At the same time, this is the source of everyday news for 52% of the respondents. Private televisions deliver information about the world to 58% of Poles. 32% find them untrustworthy.

“Many viewers find it obvious whose interest is pursued by the public television,” says Dawid Michnik, partner in Attention Marketing. “This means that viewers, more or less consciously, know or sense that the message of TV programs carries “something more” than just pure information content and it is not always just the mission of politically neutral public media. Bias of public televisions is a fairly frequent issue all over the world, and even the BBC is accused of leaning towards one side or the other.

Clearly, the public television seems to be at the crossroads. It is still a major information source, regrettably, it is not a very trustworthy one. It is mostly trusted by viewers of 55 and older (20%) and mostly distrusted by those between 35 and 54 years of age (as many as 57%).

Non-public TV looks better in this context. In the 55+ age group, non-public TV is trusted by 39% of the respondents – nearly twice as many as in the same age group in public TV. On the other hand, it is most distrusted by young people between 18 and 34 years of age – 42%. But it is still 10 per cent less than the same age group in the case of public TV.

Still on a Roll

The situation looks similar among radio broadcasters. 47% of the respondents answered they do not trust the public radio, while 24% trusted it. At the same time, 35% of the survey participants distrust non-public radio broadcasters, while 30% trust them.

Private media compete among each other with the quality of information, the speed and delivery channels. Observations show, however, that these are non-public media – TV or radio – that, in addition to their regular formats, most often use also dynamic social channels like Twitter,” notices Maciej Sokołowski, partner in Attention Marketing. “In this race, the radio must not be underestimated, as it every day reaches thousands of listeners, who – even unconsciously – form up their views on the information they heard on the radio.”

Non-public radio is the source of information for 27% of the respondents, while public broadcasters are listened to by 28% of them.

As regards trust, an important factor is the social capital that in Poland for years has been very low, compared to most EU states or the USA. The current political climate focuses on the exploitation of the Polish people’s distrust of public institutions, authorities, mass media and, finally, of one another. This contributes to a further decrease of the social capital and, consequently, greater internal divisions,” writes Błażej Dawid. “Hence we observe such a clear-cut polarization of using public and non-public media, which both have completely different audiences.

Yes-Man Effect

For 14% of Poles, opinion magazines are the sources of information about current events, and 5% read how-to magazines for this purpose.

While with television, radio and websites, individual media compete using the speed of news delivery, the opinion magazines fight over ideas and interpretations. Very many readers are able to specify ideological inclinations, and sometimes even specific political parties supported or fought against by major opinion magazines,” believes Dawid Michnik, partner in Attention Marketing. “Thus, we might speak of the freedom of individual press titles, but the freedom of journalism is rather a theoretical concept. In reality, you either match the ideological trend of your title or you change the employer. Except for a very few exceptions, the magazines lack the pluralism of opinions. Thus, one can hardly be surprised that the divisions between us are so strong as our mass media authorities are so black and white.”

In the world and in Poland we are witnessing the process of opinion magazines being converted into identity media, which, instead of reliable information and diverse opinions, offer a set of clearly formulated views. The growing number of information sources is making it more and more difficult to win the reader and sharper messages attract the audience’s attention. This is a shortcut and, regrettably, usually a dead end,” sums up Adam Sanocki.