News Audiences Go Online

March 15, 2011

pew-research-percentage-change-in-audience-2010-mar11.gifAn increasing share of the US news audience turned to the internet in 2010, according to a new report from the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism. Data from “State of the News Media 2011” indicates in 2010, every news platform except for the internet saw audiences either stall or decline.

Internet News Platform Grows 17%

Pew data indicates the US audience for the internet news platform grew 17.1% between 2009 and 2010. Every other major news platform declined during that year. For example, the local TV audience declined the least among the other platforms at 1.5%, while the cable TV audience declined the most at 13.7%.

More Get News from Web Than Newspapers

For the first time, too, the study shows that more people said they got news from the web than newspapers. The internet now trails only television among American adults as a destination for news, and the trend line shows the gap closing.

Financially, the tipping point also has come. When the final tally is in, online ad revenue in 2010 is projected to surpass print newspaper ad revenue for the first time. The problem for news is that Pew analysis indicates by far the largest share of that online ad revenue goes to non-news sources, particularly to aggregators.

Revenues Bounce Back for Most Platforms

pew-research-revenue-by-news-source-2010-mar11.gifDespite generally declining audiences, every news platform except for newspapers reported a year-over-year increase in revenues during 2010. It is worth noting that local TV, with a relatively minimal loss of audience, led in revenue growth rate (17%), followed by the growing internet platform (13.9%).

Cable TV managed to have the third-highest rate of revenue growth (8.4%) in spite of losing the largest share of audience. Magazines had the weakest revenue growth (1.4%), while newspapers saw their revenue decline 6.4% between 2009 and 2010. Pew estimates newspaper newsrooms cut 1,000 to 1,500 jobs between 2009 and 2010, meaning they are about 30% smaller.

Other Findings

  • 23% of Americans said they would pay $5 a month for an online version if their local newspaper would otherwise perish.
  • 47% of Americans used a mobile device to obtain news content.
  • Only 10% of those who have downloaded local news apps have paid for them to date.
  • Auto advertising jumped 77% in local television, 22% in radio and 17% in magazines between 2009 and 2010.
  • Political advertising spent on local television hit an estimated $2.2 billion in 2010, a new high for a midterm campaign year.

Deloitte: TV Remains Dominant Global Medium

In 2011, TV will retain its global leadership of all media forms in terms of total revenues, including ad revenues, subscriptions, pay-per-view and license fees, according to a recent white paper from Deloitte. “Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions 2011” forecasts this year, TV will account for about 41% of all ad revenues, and grow its share to 42% by 2012. TV ad revenue share grew close to 10% between 2007 and 2010, from 37% to more than 40%.

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