Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The State of Digital News

How we access news and what news we consume is changing. The annual assessment of the state of the US news industry ‘Project for Excellence in Journalism's’ was released last week by the Pew Research Center. It contains a comprehensive review of the news and insights into the habits and beliefs of some 60% of Americans who are estimated to get some news online during a typical day.

Only 19% of all surveyed, which includes people who already pay for news, said they would be willing to pay for news online. 82% of those surveyed who had preferred news sites said they'd look elsewhere if their favourites start demanding payment. That clearly demonstrates the size of the challenge news services has in moving to a subscription or pay to view models.

Readers tend to roam to gather their news with only 35% of consumers saying that they have a favourite site that they check each day. However the big sites; Yahoo, CNN, AOL, New York Times, MSNBC dominate the market. The top 7% news sites attract 80% of the traffic with the top 20 sites attracting the majority of that. Pew's survey claims that 25% of readers now get some news on their mobile phones and sourcing news more frequently on social Web sites.

Advertising continues to struggle and saw its first decline since 2002 and some 80% of those surveyed said that they never or hardly ever click on ads. In 2009n newspaper advertising revenue fell 26%, local TV and radio 22% and network television ad revenue was down 8%. Newspaper industry-wide circulation is falling by 10.6% and a loss 25.6% in daily circulation since 2000. These declines, show a loss in print revenues on top of a loss of ad revenues. Without charging for online newspaper are being hit by a double wammy.

The Wall Street Journal already charges and The New York Times has announced a metered system, allowing readers to click on a certain number of stories for free each month, with fees kicking in for readers who exceed that level. The Associated Press will charge for an application it is developing for use on the iPad, Apple's tablet computer.

The news media is no longer finely segmented into cable, online, network, local tv, magazines and newspapers. They are all going after the same online dollars. Some are part of conglomerates that cross media forms. Finally aggregators are now offering snippets and choice at a click and news on demand. How will news adjust its economic models and its resource in what is certainly a Brave New World?

To read to full report click here:The State of News Media

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