Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pew's 2011 State of the Media report holds little good news for traditional media, while expressing concern about the growing role of device makers and developers

The 2011 State of the News Media report from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism has been released today and can be found online. In the report, the authors say that the U.S. news media market improved in 2010 following a "dismal" 2009, though they said that the newspaper industry continued to see ad revenue declines.

"We estimate that advertising revenues at newspaper organizations fell by 6.4% in 2010 from the year before," the authors report. "That compares to a drop of 26% in 2009. We estimate print newspaper ad revenue at $22.8 billion, with roughly $3 billion more for online."

As reported earlier, Pew also found that for the first time ever, online advertising revenue surpassed that of newspapers. The report also found that despite declining viewership, cable television ad revenue grew at a healthy 10.7 percent last year.

The Pew report does not break out magazine ad and circulation performance by consumer and B2B, so the report shows that ad revenues were essentially flat last year versus the year before. It did mention, however, that the industry was still recovering from two horrible years: 2008, where ad declines were 11.7 percent, and 2009, where performance was even worse, a decline of 25.6 percent -- all numbers derived from the Publishers Information Bureau.

(B2B magazines ad pages fell 3.08 percent in 2010, according to Business Information Network, with only the automotive category showing healthy gains for B2B publishers.)
The report's authors are not optimistic when they look at the new media in the U.S., pointing out that American newsrooms continue to shrink.

“In a world where consumers decide what news they want and how they want to get it, the future belongs to those who understand the audience best, and who can leverage that knowledge with advertisers,” said PEJ Director Tom Rosenstiel. “Increasingly that knowledge exists outside of news companies.”

The report's authors express concern that new organizations are increasingly dependent on independent networks to sell their ad inventories, while using aggregators and social networks to deliver a growing portion of their audience. Additionally, with many consumers of news now using mobile and tablet devices from companies such as Apple, the authors worry about the reliance of the news media on outside players to provide the news platform, while simultaneously grabbing a share of the revenue, and controlling the audience data.

The report is produced each year by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, a nonpolitical, nonpartisan research institute, and is funded by The Pew Charitable Trust. The entire report, along with graphical material can be found on the dedicated website.