The audience for nearly every major sector of U.S. news media decreased in 2017. The sole medium that did not experience a decrease was radio. In Pew Research’s “State of the News Media 2017” the fact tank found that while local and network TV, digital-native news sites and daily newspapers saw their audience shrink last year, radio remained steady.
Citing Nielsen data, Pew notes that the overall audience reach for broadcast radio – which includes all formats, not just news – has been at around 90% for the past nine years. Local and network TV news declined 7%, while cable news fell 12%, according to comScore TV Essentials and StationView Essentials data. The audiences for digital-native news sites fell by 5% in terms of monthly unique visitors in 2017, comScore Media Metrix Multi-platform data shows. The biggest loss of audience was the circulation of U.S. daily newspapers, which fell by 11% last year, according to the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM).
The 90% audience reach for radio, among those 12 and older who listen in a given week, is bolstered by those who tune into public radio. In its findings, Pew said the audience for programming from NPR and Public Radio International (PRI) held steady in 2017 at 30 million and 9 million average weekly listeners respectively. The audience for programming from American Public Media (APM) was up 7% in 2017.
Looking at revenue for media news outlets, radio remained relatively flat in 2017, down 2%, according to an analysis of MEDIA Access Pro & BIA Advisory Services data. Revenue for cable news grew by 10% and there was no change in revenue for network TV’s evening broadcast news programs. Newspaper revenue was down 10%, according to analysis of SEC filings. Local TV news revenue was down 13%, compared to over-the-air revenue during the 2016 election year. Factoring out 2016, local TV news revenue was down 4%, compared to 2015 numbers, according to an analysis of MEDIA Access Pro & BIA Advisory Services data.
The Pew Research findings showed that digital advertising continues to grow, up 25% in 2017 across all types of digital outlets, not just news outlets, according to eMarketer. Mobile advertising revenue totaled $61 billion in 2017, which Pew said is roughly equal to the total amount of digital advertising revenue just two years ago. However, more than half (52%) of the advertising dollars are going to Google and Facebook.
Worth noting, TV news audiences for both Telemundo and Univision were down across the board in all major time slots for both their national and local news broadcasts, Pew found.