Despite its official positioning as a tool to drive traffic to news sites, Google News had a higher reach – 30% – among the 453,353 business executives surveyed than any dedicated news site.

The BBC followed, with a monthly reach of 22.7%, The FT with 15.4% reach, CNN with 9.6% and Sky News with 9.4%.

Wall Street Journal Europe, while reaching just 3.8% of those surveyed through its website, maintained a 34% lead in readership through combined print and online over its pan-European rival International Herald Tribune.

The WSJ Europe also had the most affluent print audience, with an average reader salary of €248,000 (£220,100) versus an average of €152,000 (£134,900) for all print readers.

Bloomberg Businessweek magazine saw a jump of 39% in online reach year on year among the survey audience.

Although almost half of the sample (47%) accessed online content via smartphones on a weekly basis, print and TV channels remain strong, with business leaders obtaining information from as many sources as possible.

Among business executives, 72% now obtain media content online every month, up from 63% in 2008, while 95% still read print and 85% watch TV daily to get news.

Business executives continue to adopt new media: 46% have a presence on Facebook and 41% are on LinkedIn.

The Business Elite Europe survey looked at 17 countries including France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

More than half of the sample (60%) were ’C-suite’, including CEO and COO positions, with an average salary of €152,000.

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