State of the News Media 2012
The annual study is an analysis of the health of journalism in America. This year’s study includes special reports on the impact of mobile technology and social media on news. Lets dig in and see what they say!
Evidence shows that the spread of mobile technology is adding to news consumption—that it’s actually boosting the reading of long-form journalism. Great news for you freelance writers out there who love storytelling.
People who use mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, are getting news on these devices, and appear to be getting it frequently. 34% of desktop or laptop computer users now also get news on their smartphones. 27% of smartphone news consumers also get news on their tablet.
But while online audiences grew, print circulation continued to decline. So did ad revenues. When circulation and advertising revenue are combined, the newspaper industry has shrunk 43% since 2000. Here are some of the major trends the study recognized.
Mobile may be leading to a deeper experience with news than on the desktop/laptop computer
Sales of e-readers and tablets continue to grow, and consumers are reading more on these devices. 27% of the American population now get their news on mobile devices. These people are turning to news organizations directly, through apps and homepages, which is strengthening the bond with traditional brands. Data also shows that mobile devices increased traffic on major newspaper websites by 9%.
Social media are important but not overwhelming drivers of news, at least not yet
Did you know that 54% of the U.S. population is active on Facebook? These people spend about seven hours on Facebook per month—that’s 14 times longer than the average person spends on the most popular news sites. But here’s the catch—only 10% of digital news consumers follow news recommendations from Facebook or Twitter on a frequent basis.
News viewership on television grew in unexpected venues
The audiences for all three of the major broadcast networks grew 4.5% in 2012—the first time in a decade the number isn’t a loss. Local people watched more early morning and late evening news than last year. However, local news stations saw audiences who watched their local newscasts fall when the Middle East uprisings subsided.
More news outlets will move to digital subscriptions in 2012, as a matter of survival
The New York Times moved to a digital subscription model—and so are hundreds of other newspapers in the country. Without the infusion of a digital paid model, many newspapers just wont survive, thanks to losses in ad revenue. About 1% of the newspaper industry has vanished each year for the past five years. Many executives predict that in the next five years, many newspapers will offer a print home-delivered newspaper on Sunday only.
Lets take a look at the study’s key findings: Web continues to dominate in audience growth
The online news audience grew 17.2% between 2010 and 2011. Newspapers had a decline of 4% during that same time period.
Most sectors see revenue fall
Online, Cable TV, and Audio industries had growth between 2010 and 2011, 23%, 9%, and 1% respectively. Network TV had a loss of 3.7%, Magazines a loss of 5.6%, Local TV a loss of 6.7%, and Newspapers a loss of 7.3%.
Of the 213 magazines the Pew Center tracked, 136 of them reported a decline in the number of ad pages sold. But even though ad pages, which has traditionally been the magazine industry’s key economic indicator, are down, some digital initiatives are paying off. For example, in October 2011, The Atlantic’s digital ad revenues exceeded print ad revenues, 51% to 49%.
What does this mean for freelancers? Hope is not lost. Technology isn’t killing news, but it is changing it. There is still a need and want for news, but people are getting it differently and advertisers are looking at spending their money differently
The success of The New York Times digital subscription model gives me a lot of hope. You can read more about it in this article on www.CapitalNewYork.com. What was once a news giant poised to fall, is now standing up a little straighter after a year of digital subscription sales. And thanks to their success, other national newspapers are following suit.
Have you seen changes in your local news organizations over the past year? More expensive subscriptions? Less free news online? Less pages? We’d love to know.