The number of Italians who use the Internet to get informed is decreasing, says Italian website LSDI, analysing the Report on "Citizens and new technology" which was released in December 2010 by Istat, the Italian National Institute of Statistics.
The research shows that in Italy the general daily use of the Web is increasing (from 21,8 % to 26.4%), but the the percentage of Italians who make use of Internet to read or download newspapers and magazines has decreased from 46.7% to 44%, and the number of online news subscribers has fallen.
So in Italy the main source of information remains the TV (also bearing in mind that Italy has one of the lowest circulation of newspapers per 1000 habitants in Europe, as well as a low rate of newspaper subscribers). TV's predominance is backed up by the diffusion among families of personal computers (57,6%) compared to television sets (95.6%) and cellular phones (95.6%).
This trend differs a lot from those noted in the US, for example. A national survey by Pew Research Center for the People & the Press shows that "the internet is slowly closing in on television as Americans' main source of national and international news. Currently, 41% say they get most of their news about national and international news from the internet, which is little changed over the past two years but up 17 points since 2007. Television remains the most widely used source for national and international news -- 66% of Americans say it is their main source of news -- but that is down from 74% three years ago and 82% as recently as 2002".
Back in Italy, looking at the general increase in the use of the web, the percentage of people listening to the radio or watching TV programs online rose from 29.5% to 31.3%.
The report shows that families with at least one child are the most technological: 81.8% have a personal computer and 74.7% have internet access.
The digital divide remains high between the North and the South of the country referring to families who own a personal computer, but it is lower for owners of a digital terrestrial TV decoder. On the contrary, the social divide is narrowing.
Interestingly, social networking (Facebook, Twitter, Myspace...) and social aggregators, like chat and blogs, have the most important role within Internet use: 45% of users socialize through social networks, 36.7% use chat, write blogs, participate in news groups or online discussion forums.
An article by Piero Macrì for EJO underlines that also in Italy social media are becoming very important tools for newspapers and news organizations, as they are in the US for the New York Times, for example.
Surprisingly, from the figures obtained last November, it emerged that Il Fatto Quotidiano, the youngest and the smallest newspaper in terms of number of journalists, has built the best relationship with its readers on Facebook, overtaking big players La Repubblica and Corriere della Sera in numbers of Facebook fans.