Digital news audience surges, but news media not cashing in
The news industry is "more undermanned and unprepared to uncover stories, dig deep into emerging ones or to question information put into its hands," says Pew Research in its "State of the News Media 2013," published today (March 18). In the print media, employment is down 30% since its 2000 peak and the total number of employees has fallen below 40,000 for the first time since 1978, says Pew. Magazine revenue dropped by 10.4% and newspaper advertising declined 5.9% last year. Local TV news audiences were down in all time slots and in all networks as overall audiences fell 6.5%, according to the publication Adweek. Local TV watching among adults under 30 fell from 42% in 2006 to 28% in 2012. Revenue was up in local TV news, but only because of the election.
Last year, 31% of adults owned a tablet, four times the level of spring 2011, says Adweek, interpreting the Pew data. Digital advertising grew 17% last year, according to eMarketer, but news media are having trouble making hay of that. In the newspaper industry, digital ad revenue grew only 3% last year, and that wasn't nearly enough to offset overall ad revenue declines. Advertisers are increasingly going for Google, Facebook and other networks.
Says Pew, "Signs of the shrinking reporting power are documented throughout this year's report....In local TV... sports, weather, and traffic now account for on average 40% of the content produced in the newscasts studied while story lengths shrink." On CNN, the cable channel designed to bring deep reporting, such story packages were cut in half from 2007 to 2012.