As expected, the Pew Research Center’s annual “State of the News Media” report delivered more sobering news for the newspaper industry on Wednesday:
- Employment is down 10 percent from 2014, the sharpest drop in any year since 2009.
- Average circulation fell for both daily and alternative weekly papers.
- And advertising revenue dipped 8 percent, also the most since 2009.
But it wasn’t all gloom and doom in the annual report. Here are four findings and trends that bode well for the state of the news media in 2016.
Digital Advertising Spending Is Growing Fast
Digital advertising spending reached nearly $60 billion in 2015, a 20 percent increase from 2014. This is faster than the growth rate in the previous three years, when digital ad spending grew only 15-17 percent each year.
The caveat is that most new digital ad revenue didn’t go to news publishers last year; it went to technology and social media companies. In 2015, five companies — Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and Yahoo — combined to haul in 65 percent of all digital ad revenue, up from 61 percent in 2014.
These numbers reflect the huge role that tech companies now play as curators and distributors of news and media content online. Jesse Holcomb, Pew’s associate director of research and one of the report’s co-authors, says the increasingly symbiotic relationship between social media platforms and news publishers will be an especially important trend to watch in coming years…
Nonprofit And Public Media Are Diversifying And Increasing Revenue
While nonprofit news organizations still rely heavily on foundation funding, they continued to diversify their revenue in 2015.
According to a Knight Foundation study of 20 local and regional digital news nonprofits, 58 percent of total revenue came from foundations in 2013 — down from 63 percent in 2011. These news organizations’ share of earned revenue (including sponsorships, events, advertising, subscriptions, etc.) grew from 18 percent to 23 percent over the same two-year period.
Meanwhile, the size of the overall revenue pie also continued to grow for nonprofits, with the median revenue for these 20 organizations increasing 45 percent from 2011 to 2013 and reaching $518,000…
The Audience For Podcasts Is Still Growing
In an Edison Research study conducted earlier this year and cited in the Pew report, 21 percent of U.S. adults said they’d listened to a podcast within the last month, up from 17 percent in 2015 and 9 percent in 2008. In total, about one third of U.S. adults have now listened to a podcast in their lifetime…
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