Monday, March 19, 2012 - 12:40pm
Last year news media "entered a new era," writes the Pew Research Center. "The age of mobile, in which people are connected to the web wherever they are... the new era brings mixed blessings." That's the big takeaway from Pew's new report, "The State of the News Media 2012."
For radio in particular, "digital options are beginning to have an impact" on AM/FM, "especially in the mobile realms." Pew notes that nearly 40% of people listen to online-only audio services (a number which eMarketer expects to double by 2015). "Even more worrisome for AM/FM radio, in-car listening via smartphones nearly doubled in the last year to 11% of people who own cellphones. And carmakers are installing new models with internet-ready listening," writes Pew.
One of the biggest names in news radio, NPR, saw a drop in total listening "for the first time in years, but the organization is making headway in developing digital platforms to reach new audiences," the report states.
Overall though, Pew repeats what it wrote last year: "the news industry... finds itself more a follower than a leader shaping its business." The industry is following a handful of tech giants (like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple) which are "rapidly moving to consolidate their power by becoming makers of 'everything' in our digital lives."
Though in 2011 "traditional news operations also took new steps to monetize the web in their own right," five tech companies accounted for nearly 70% of all web ad revenue.
But it may be the mobile devices those tech companies produce -- especially tablets -- that preserves the "demand for long-form, quality journalism," argues Chris Hughes, who recently bought The New Republic.
"In sum," concludes Pew, "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. But 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."
You can find Pew's report here.