The State of the News Media 2015 Overview

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Pew Research recently published its State of the News Media 2015 report Wednesday, April 29th, on the continuing trends in News Media.  According to the report, not much has changed from last year- newspapers continue to decline while mobile trends continue to dominate.

  1. Mobile Domination

The mobile trend, as expected, has shown to continuously escalate in both users and in advertising. Out of the top 50 digital news sites, 39 reported having more mobile than desktop visitors.  Although desktop users spend more time on the sites themselves, it is clear that there has been a dramatic shift reflecting the technological advances in smartphones and tablets.

As more and more users flock to smartphones and tablets,  advertisers are right on their tail.  Compared to 2013 when advertisers spent a total of $10.7 billion in mobile advertising, there has been a 78% increase totaling $19 billion in 2014.

Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, and AOL are the top dogs who still control the digital marketing space.  Combined, the five companies made up 61% of the total domestic digital advertising revenue in 2014.  That’s $30.9 billion out of the total of $50.7 billion spent on digital advertising.

For mobile advertising, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Pandora, and Apple took up 64%, that’s $6.4 billion out of the of the total, $9.6 billion spent on mobile display ads.  Facebook, especially, spent 131% more in mobile ads in 2014, accumulating more than a third of total mobile ad spending.

  1. Positive Outlook for Podcasts

Podcasts is on a two year uphill streak, with increases in total listenership, downloads, and awareness.  Since 2008, the number of American listenership nearly doubled from 9% to 17% in 2015.  Not only has listenership increased, but the percentage of Americans, 12 years of age and older, who have listened to a podcast at least once has increased up to 33% compared to 27% in 2013.

Libsyn, one of the largest commercial podcast hosting companies, provided data that depicted stable growth, since 2012, in the number of hosted and download requested podcasts.  Following the mobile trend, people are more actively listening to podcasts on mobile devices and tablets.  Libsyn details that in 2014, 63% of the 2.6 billion podcast downloads were made on mobile devices, compared to 43% in 2012.

  1. Newspapers continue on a downhill trend.

Although there has been much discussion around the decline of newspapers, traditional print newspaper still stands its ground as a prominent method of reading the news.  Not much has changed from 2013, with 56% of newspaper consumers relying solely on print, while only 6-7% use desktop and/or mobile.

However, despite the optimistic growth newspapers experienced from 2012 to 2013, newspaper circulation dropped roughly 3% for both weekday and Sunday editions.  Not only circulation, but print advertising revenue dropped 4%.  In contrast, digital ad revenue went up by 3%, again, portraying the shift towards mobile and away from print.

Digital news site audience numbers have spiraled in the millions.  For example, the New York Times reports that their website and app drew almost 54 million unique visitors in January 2015.  However, the reason why more people identify themselves as print users is because of the short time spent online.  New York Times visitors spent an average 4.6 minutes on the site or app, indicating that most are merely “flybys” who arrive briefly to browse, but not really to read and digest the news.

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