Friday, March 31, 2023


March 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The audience for network news rose 4.5 percent in 2011 — the first increase since 2001, while the audience for local television news rose about 1 percent — representing the first increase in that sector since 2006. Cable TV and local radio news also saw upticks of 1 percent. (The increase in viewers did not correlate with an increase in revenue, which was down 3.7 percent for the networks and 6.7 percent for local TV.) Those figures are contained in the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism’s ninth annual State of the News Media report, which also noted that the audience for Internet news sites climbed a whopping 17 percent during the year, while the number of newspaper readers declined 4 percent. Efforts by newspapers to erect pay walls to increase revenue lost to declining circulation appeared thwarted by the continued availability of free local news from websites operated by local television stations, the report indicated. It pointed out that while newspaper sites outdraw local TV sites in 80 percent of the top 50 markets, there were notable exceptions. In particular an Albuquerque TV stations now reaches twice as many adults online as the local newspaper (which put up a pay wall in 2001). The finding would appear to bolster arguments by opponents of cross-media ownership, who would likely point out that if one company controlled the principal newspaper and TV stations in a single market it could erect pay walls at each of them. In addition, the study pointed out, the departure of Oprah Winfrey from many stations did not have the impact on ratings that many analysts had predicted it would have. In cases where her program was replaced by an expansion of local news, the newscasts continued to draw about the same number of viewers that had tuned in to Winfrey.