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. This year, instead of a single summary report, a series of fact sheets showcasing the most important current and historical data points for each sector – in an easy-to-digest format – will be rolled out a few at a time over the coming months.
Listed below are the 2017 fact sheets released so far, along with links to related reports that provide other angles of analysis about the news media industry. (State of the News Media reports from 2004-2016 are archived as PDFs and available here.) Check back in the coming months as the collection below grows – and in the years to come as these fact sheets continue to be updated with the latest data.
Early morning, noon and late evening slots drive growth in local TV news
Faced with multiple years of audience declines during traditional time slots, many local TV stations began expanding their programming to nontraditional hours such as very early morning, midday and at 7 p.m.
Why a mobile news startup couldn’t survive in a mobile news world
Circa is the latest casualty of a fragile digital news scene that is by no means immune to the risks facing startups in general.
Facebook’s deal with publishers a stark reminder of digital ad gulf
A hard look at the digital publishing business shows the degree to which Facebook, more than any other single company, is where the digital display ad money is.
The declining value of U.S. newspapers
Over the past two decades, major newspapers across the country have seen a recurring cycle of ownership changes and steep declines in value.
As 2016 election looms, MSNBC shakes up its programming strategy
MSNBC shifts its focus toward “original reporting” as its overall ratings remain strong, but total revenue for the year lags significantly behind CNN’s.
America’s news anchors are less recognizable now, but network news is still alive
NBC’s suspension of anchor Brian Williams from the helm of its flagship evening news program has led to some debate about the future for network television news.
Market is still hot for buying up local TV stations
The rush to acquire local TV stations by media companies’ continued in 2014 and resulted in strong financial pay offs for them.
The New Republic and the state of niche news magazines
The data suggest that the New Republic have a tough road ahead, with single-copy newsstand sales falling in 2013 and 2014.
Interest in midterms may be low, but local TV awash in political ad spending
Local TV has been receiving the largest portion of political media spending for at least a decade, but the share it consumes and the total dollars reaped continues to grow.
Cutbacks at CNN highlight the cable news paradox
In terms of TV viewership, cable news peaked as a medium around the 2008 presidential election and, while showing impressive potential in digital, the business model is uncertain.