Pew Study Sees Revenue Challenges For News Media, Radio
March 15, 2010 at 6:16 AM (PT)
The PEW RESEARCH CENTER's Project For Excellence In Journalism has released the 2010 edition of its annual "State of the News Media" report, and among the findings is that despite the rapid movement of consumers to getting their news online, "there is little evidence that journalism online has found a sustaining revenue model." The study reports that "79% of online news consumers say they rarely if ever have clicked on an online ad," yet most Americans say they would not pay for even their favorite online news sources if pay walls were set up.
The report comes as revenue for news media continues to fall, with newspapers, including their online components, dropping 26% in the past year and 43% over the past three years.
On the subject of radio and audio-based news, the report says, "Most people still listen to news, talk and music for at least a little while every week, and they do most of this listening through traditional broadcast or 'terrestrial' radio. This is where the audience is largest. Yet this is where the profit and revenue are under the most pressure. Many stations have left the air and some owners of multiple stations have entered bankruptcy. Everything else, by comparison, is small, and in the newest forms the revenue model is not yet clear, though it will almost surely involve direct-user payment. With every year the signs grow that terrestrial radio is already having, and will continue to have, a harder time. Yet another clearly foreseeable threat is the arrival of Internet-based car radio."
The report says that the number of people saying they listen to less terrestrial radio in favor of their iPODS or MP3 players increased from 37% in 2008 to 42% in 2009. Online radio listening has also increased, from 21% to 27%. "While these numbers are still small," the report notes, "they do show a steadily increasing number of people seeking audio service from other technologies."
The report singles out NPR as having "developed an advantage in radio news," with its audience up 0.1%. NPR's "connection to local markets around the country though its member-station format makes it uniquely poised to take advantage of audience fragmentation," says the report. "Some report, though, that NPR’s attempts to reach out to local markets has caused friction with member stations that prefer to emphasize their own brand to local listeners and fear the encroachment of the national entity."
Read the entire report by clicking here.