Since 2004, Pew Research Center has issued an annual report on key audience and economic indicators for a variety of sectors within the U.S. news media industry. These data speak to the shifting ways in which Americans seek out news and information, how news organizations get their revenue, and the resources available to American journalists as they seek to inform the public about important events of the day. The press is sometimes called the fourth branch of government, but in the U.S., it’s also very much a business – one whose ability to serve the public is dependent on its ability to attract eyeballs and dollars.
Over the years, the Center’s approach to these indicators has evolved along with the industry, carefully considering the metrics, sectors and format in which the data appear. Instead of a single summary report, our approach is to roll out a series of fact sheets showcasing the most important current and historical data points for each sector – in an easy-to-digest format – a few at a time. (State of the News Media reports from 2004-2017 are archived as PDFs and available here.)
Key trends in social and digital news media
Read 10 key findings from recent Pew Research Center reports about today’s digital news media landscape.
Americans’ online news use is closing in on TV news use
As of August 2017, 43% of Americans report often getting news online, just 7 points lower than the 50% who often get news on television.
Growth in mobile news use driven by older adults
Roughly two-thirds of Americans ages 65 and older now get news on a mobile device (67%), a 24-percentage-point increase over the past year.
Despite subscription surges for largest U.S. newspapers, circulation and revenue fall for industry overall
Some major newspapers reported a sharp jump in digital subscriptions, but the industry as a whole faced ongoing challenges in 2016.
Buying spree brings more local TV stations to fewer big companies
As of 2016, Sinclair, Nexstar, Gray, Tegna and Tribune owned an estimated 37% of all full-power local TV stations in the country.