US news outlets losing out to new media

Washington, April 9 (IANS) With traditional news media no longer providing them the news the way it used to, US adults are deserting print in favour of new media like Facebook and Google, according to a new US media survey.

“The effects of a decade of newsroom cutbacks are real – and the public is taking notice,” says The State of the News Media 2013 – An Annual Report on American Journalism by Pew Research Centre.

“Nearly a third of US adults, 31 percent, have stopped turning to a news outlet because it no longer provided them with the news they were accustomed to getting,” it says.

“Men have left at somewhat higher rates than women, as have the more highly educated and higher-income earners,” the report says noting many of those were earlier among the heavier news consumers according to past Pew Research data.

“With reporting resources cut to the bone and fewer specialized beats, journalists’ level of expertise in any one area and the ability to go deep into a story are compromised,” the report said leading readers to turn to new media.

Identifying six major trends of the year, the survey noted that “hearing about things in the news from friends and family, whether via social media or actual word of mouth, leads to deeper news consumption.”

“A majority of Americans seek out a full news story after hearing about an event or issue from friends and family,” the report says noting “For nearly three-quarters of adults (72 percent), the most common way to get news from friends and family is by having someone talk to them-either in person or over the phone.”

“And among that group, close to two-thirds (63 percent) somewhat or very often seek out a news story about that event or issue. Social networking is now a part of this process as well: 15 percent of US adults get most of their news from friends and family this way, and the vast majority of them (77 percent) follow links to full news stories.”

“Overall, awareness of the industry’s financial struggles is limited,” the survey said noting, “Only 39 percent have heard a lot or some. But those with greater awareness are also more likely to be the ones who have abandoned a news outlet.”

The news industry continues to lose out on the bulk of new digital advertising, the survey said noting over all, mobile advertising grew 80 percent in 2012 to $2.6 billion.

“Improved geo-targeting is allowing many national advertisers to turn to Google, Facebook and other large networks to buy ads that once might have gone to local media,” the report said.

“In addition, Google and Facebook are also improving their ability to sell ad space to smaller, truly local, advertisers, again taking business that once went to local media,” it said.

“It is hard to see how news organizations will secure anything like their traditional share. Google is now the ad leader in search, display and mobile,” the report said noting “Once again, in key revenue areas, it appears the news industry may have been outflanked by technology giants.”

“After years of an almost theological debate about whether digital content should be free, the newspaper industry may have reached a tipping point in 2012,” the report noted.

“Indeed, 450 of the nation’s 1,380 dailies have started or announced plans for some kind of paid content subscription or pay wall plan, in many cases opting for the metered model that allows a certain number of free visits before requiring users to pay,” itr said.

“While the first and hardest-hit industry, newspapers, remains in the spotlight, local TV finds itself newly vulnerable,” the report said noting local TV audiences were down across every key time slot and across all networks in 2012.

“While local TV remains a top news source for Americans, the percentage is dropping – and dropping sharply among younger generations.” The report said.

“Regular local TV viewership among adults under 30 fell from 42 percent in 2006 to just 28 percent in 2012,” according to Pew Research survey data.

Public radio also is undergoing transition as more people adopt mobile technologies, the report said.

All of the major news magazines saw declining audiences in 2012. Sales of newsstand copies “plummeted 16 percent on average for the news magazines, roughly two times the 8.2 percent decline in newsstand sales that the magazine industry suffered over all,” the report said citing the Alliance for Audited Media,

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])

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