Online news overtakes TV news as America's most popular source of information
Online news overtakes TV news as America’s most popular source of information
Friday, August 28, 2015 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Today’s emerging youth are far more interested in getting their news online rather than from the television or print media, new statistics reveal. A biannual report released by the Alliance for Audited Media shows that “total paid circulation” for 86 of the top 125 print magazines, or about 71 percent of them, experienced drops in circulation, while online news has now officially taken over TV news in terms of total viewership.
The Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2015 states that some 43 percent of Americans now regard online news as their “main source of news,” compared to just 40 percent for TV news. This is a first, as TV news has long held the top spot for news consumption, only recently falling to second place as the Internet reaches all-time highs in popularity.
“Newsstand sales, long seen as an indicator of the health of the industry, fell by 11.4 percent,” reports Media Life Magazine. “That comes after the 14.2 percent decrease magazines suffered at the newsstand during the second half of last year.”
Many magazines going digital in attempt to stay relevant
Hoping to curb these losses, many traditionally print-only magazines are now going digital, or at least bundling their online and offline content together in an attempt to retain readers. But what many of these media giants aren’t doing is changing their content and format to match what today’s savvy news consumers are looking for – truth and honesty in reporting.
This, of course, is what sets online media apart from traditional print and television media. Online media is largely decentralized, and it’s where the independent media thrives. Print and television media, on the other hand, are mostly controlled by one of six corporate entities that have a hand in about 90 percent of what Americans consume as “news.”
Failing to recognize that content is what sets online media apart from print and television, the establishment media is desperately trying to stay afloat amid a turning tide of consumer preference. People are tired of all the lies and manipulation coming from the TV talking heads and corporate “journalists,” who often just report what their sponsors (which in many cases are drug companies) tell them to report.
High-quality news reporting costs money, but people don’t want to pay
The Reuters report also found that “printed newspapers” are really struggling hard these days, scoring lower than even social media websites in terms of their popularity. Digital access to breaking news seems to be more preferable than printed news that comes out daily, but people are increasingly unwilling to pay for it.
There’s this idea that, if it’s online, it should be free. But traditional and alternative media sources alike are heavily reliant upon advertising dollars to stay in business, and many media outlets are working overtime to figure out new ways to streamline digital news content through paywalls in order to generate healthier revenue streams.
“There aren’t many people paying for news in the U.S., almost no overall growth, and very little easy money left on the table,” wrote Paul Bedard for the Washington Examiner. “Despite major newspaper companies touting more subscriptions in their annual reports (the New York Times has over 800,000 digital subs) this survey shows virtually no increase in total news payers since 2013.”
“The remaining non-payers overwhelmingly believe they would never pay, or pay only a small amount – a mean yearly figure of $8.”
The Reuters report also discusses this issue in depth, noting that online advertising revenues are paltry compared to traditional print advertising revenues. Digital content doesn’t produce the same revenue returns, in other words, a problem that’s made even worse by news consumption via mobile “smartphones,” which provide the lowest returns of all.
Sources for this article include: