Celebrities In the Media: No Journalism Here Just Click Bait

Fuelled By Media Trawling For Site Ad Revenue

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Toronto, ON – Seven in ten (68%) Canadians believe that it’s the media who is most likely to do sensationalized stories about celebrities to get as many people as possible to go to their digital media site to earn ad revenue—essentially “click bait” to drive people to media sites—as opposed to celebrities themselves and their publicists to get noticed by as many people as possible (32%) according to a new poll done by Ipsos Reid on behalf of the Canadian Journalism Foundation.

  • Canadian seniors (73%, ages 55+) are significantly most likely to believe that the media drives these sensationalist stories, ahead of middle-aged (67%, ages 35-54) and younger (64%, ages 18-34) Canadians, while younger Canadians (36%) are most likely to think that its celebrities and their publicists trying to get noticed
  • Those most likely to believe that these stories are media-driven hail from British Columbia (75%), followed by Ontario (69%), Atlantic Canada (69%), the Prairies (68%), Alberta (66%), and Quebec (64%)
  • Interestingly, Canadians in the highest income category (73%, $100,000+ annually) are the most likely to believe that ‘click bait’ is driven by the media seeking ad revenue, while those in the lowest income category (37%, under $40,000 annually) most believe celebrities and their publicists are driving people to media sites

In fact, two thirds (63%) of Canadians don’t think media coverage about what celebrities do or what is going on in their lives is real “news” but simply sensationalized “click bait” to get people to go to media sites reporting on it or to buy their publications/magazines. Only one in ten (9%) view this type of media coverage as “real news”, while three in ten (27%) believe it is a mix of the two.

  • Women (31%) are significantly more likely than men (24%) to believe that this type of media coverage is a mix of ‘real news’ and ‘click bait’, while men (66%) slightly edge women (61%) when saying this type of coverage is purely ‘click bait’
  • Younger Canadians (16%) are significantly more likely than middle-aged (8%) and senior (6%) Canadians to believe that celebrity coverage in the media is ‘real news’ and are least likely to see these stories as ‘click bait’ (58% vs. 65% of middle-aged and senior Canadians)
  • British Columbians (58%) and Quebecers (57%) are least likely to identify this type of media coverage solely as ‘click bait’, and are most likely (Quebec – 32% and British Columbia – 31%) to recognize these stories as a combination of ‘real news’ and ‘click bait’.
  • Interestingly, ‘active’ social media users (14%) are significantly more likely than ‘passive (8%) and ‘inactive’ (6%) social media users to see these stories as ‘real news’, while the less active someone is in the social media space, the more likely they are to see this coverage as ‘click bait’ (Inactive users – 68%, Passive users – 62%, Active users – 59%)

And news about celebrities, stars and entertainers clearly are more the dessert than the full meal of what types of news Canadians spend time following these during their day—in all mediums ranging from print to Twitter to Facebook to regular media sites. Canadians indicate that there daily news digest ‘regularly’ consists of the following types of news:

  • News of things happening in Canada - 80% ‘regularly’ (41% very/39% somewhat)
  • News of things happening internationally – 72% ‘regularly’ (30% very/42% somewhat)
  • News about business and finance – 41% ‘regularly’ (14% very/27% somewhat)
  • News about celebrities, stars and entertainers – 35% ‘regularly’ (9% very/26% somewhat)

The demographic breakdown of what types of news Canadians are following ‘regularly’ reveals some interesting distinctions.

  • Men are significantly more likely than women to ‘regularly’ follow international news (77% of men vs. 68% of women) and news about business and finance (53% of men vs. 30% of women), while women (39%) are significantly more likely than men (31%) to follow news about celebrities
  • Younger Canadians are the least likely to ‘regularly’ follow news about Canada (74% vs. 82% of middle-aged Canadians and 83% of senior Canadians), but are significantly more likely than their older cohorts to follow news about celebrities (49% of younger Canadians vs. 33% of middle-aged Canadians and 26% of senior Canadians)
  • Quebecers (38%) are the most likely to indicate that they ‘regularly’ follow news about celebrities, ahead of Ontarians (36%), British Columbians (33%), Atlantic Canadians (32%), Prairies residents (32%) and Albertans (29%), although Quebecers are the least likely to ‘regularly’ follow news about Canada (71%), international affairs (64%) and business and finance (36%)
  • Interestingly, parents (42%) are significantly more likely than those without children in the household (33%) to ‘regularly’ follow news about celebrities
  • Active social media users are most likely to ‘regularly’ follow all of these types of news (92% - news about Canada, 86% - news about things happening internationally, 53% - news about business and finance, 46% news about celebrities) and are more than twice as likely as inactive social media users to ‘regularly’ follow news about celebrities (46% active users vs. 21% of inactive users

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between November 11th to 16th, 2013 on behalf of The Canadian Journalism Foundation. For this survey, a sample of 1,108 Canadians from Ipsos' Canadian online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/- 3.4 percentage points had all Canadians adults been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

John Wright
Senior Vice President
Ipsos Reid
Public Affairs

About Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid is Canada's market intelligence leader, the country's leading provider of public opinion research, and research partner for loyalty and forecasting and modelling insights. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos Reid employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in the country, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels. Ipsos Reid's marketing research and public affairs practices offer the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada, all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, Ipsos Reid offers syndicated information or custom solutions across key sectors of the Canadian economy, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, automotive, retail, and technology & telecommunications. Ipsos Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.

To learn more, please visit www.ipsos.ca.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. In October 2011 Ipsos completed the acquisition of Synovate. The combination forms the world’s third largest market research company.

With offices in 85 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specializations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, public affairs research, and survey management.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,789 billion (2.300 billion USD) in 2012.

Visit www.ipsos.com to learn more about Ipsos’ offerings and capabilities.

Celebrities In the Media:  No Journalism Here Just Click Bait


John Wright
Senior Vice President, US
Ipsos Public Affairs