Pew's 'State Of The News Media 2012' Looks At Mobile Era, Changes In Radio Listening
March 19, 2012 at 7:19 AM (PT)
The PEW PROJECT FOR EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM's annual "State of the News Media" report for 2012 calls the present media landscape the "age of mobile" and says that "the new era brings mixed blessings."
The study analyzes two trends it says "overlap and reinforce the sense that the gap between the news and technology industries is widening," one being the growth of mobile platforms and social media channels and the other being consolidation by companies like GOOGLE, AMAZON, FACEBOOK, APPLE, and others to "consolidate their power by becoming makers of 'everything' in our digital lives."
The study wonders whether technology companies will "find it in their interest to acquire major legacy news brands -- as part of the “everything” they offer consumers. Does there come a point, to ensure the much smaller media company’s survival, for instance, where FACEBOOK considers buying a legacy media partner such as The WASHINGTON POST?"
Concluding that "the news industry is not much closer to a new revenue model than a year earlier and has lost more ground to rivals in the technology industry," the study nonetheless notes that "growing evidence also suggests that news is becoming a more important and pervasive part of people’s lives. That, in the end, could prove a saving factor for the future of journalism."
Regarding radio, the study notes the use of digital mobile devices for in-car listening where AM and FM radio had been dominant, but adds that "traditional radio is by no means a thing of the past," noting that "the vast majority of Americans still report listening to AM/FM weekly, and the bulk of audio revenue remains tied to that traditional platform.
But as many as 38% percent of Americans now listen to audio on digital devices each week, and that is projected to double by 2015, while interest in traditional radio — even the HD option -- is on the decline." The report says that while News-Talk-Information stations have grown in number, "the evidence... suggests that this does not necessarily equate to more resources devoted to news gathering and reporting. Indeed, it can mean just the opposite."
Statistically, the PEW report, citing ARBITRON, said that 93% of Americans 12 or older used or owned an AM/FM radio, down only 3% since 2001 and second only to television. But the study points out "evidence in the data that people listen to AM/FM out convenience rather than out of deeper appreciation for the content," with 22% of adults saying they "love" AM/FM radio, well behind digital devices, Internet, and satellite radio. Also sticking out in the statistics is the growth of in-car use of cellphones to listen to Internet streaming audio, almost doubling year-to-year to 11% but strongest with people 18-24.
The News-Talk-Information category is listened to, the study notes, by 12% f people 12 and older, second only to Country (13%) and expected to rise in this election year. Meanwhile, the study pointed out that NPR had seen its first decline in audience for several years in 2011 but that the network had growth in the digital realm with apps, social media, blogs, and podcasting.
The study also notes that HD RADIO has "failed to take hold," with the public aware the service exists but only 7% of adults saying they are interested in it.