Pew Research released their 2015 State of the Media report this week. And the major takeaway is mobile, mobile, mobile. 39 of the top 50 digital news websites have more traffic to their sites and associated applications coming from mobile devices than from desktop computers says the report.
However, for half of those top 50 news sites mobile visitors tend to spend less time on the news sites than desktop users
Digital and mobile developments have also broadened the world of audio. Podcast listening is on the rise, which could breathe new life into audio journalism. NPR’s podcast downloads alone grew 41% year over year, according to the company’s internal data. The rapid growth in use of smartphones and mobile devices, in addition to the increased ease of in-car listening, has contributed to the uptick of interest in podcasts.
The percentage of Americans who have listened to a podcast in the past month has almost doubled since 2008, from 9% to 17% by January of 2015. The percentage listening in 2015 was up two points over 2014 levels (15%).
Things to consider
- Many news outlets are still struggling financially. Newspaper ad revenue declined another 4% year over year, to $19.9 billion – less than half of what it was a decade ago. Even a large blog like GigaOm was not able to sustain their operation.
- In 2014 three different companies spun off more than 100 newspaper properties, in large part so that their still-robust broadcast or digital divisions would not be affected by the newspaper industry’s continuing financial woes.
- Layoffs at newsrooms mean fewer journalists. On the positive side it also means each journalist is covering more beats and needs more content.
- Television is doing better financially. The evening news audience numbers were up slightly again in 2014.
- Podcasting is one area that has promise. Radio stations report that audiences are increasingly accessing their shows via podcast and other independent podcasts are also reporting growth.
- The general podcast audience is made up of well-educated social sharers who find ways to consume commercial-free media. Half of the podcast audience is younger than 34 and affluent.