Study: The Web Surpasses Newspapers in News Delivery

By Cindy Waxer March 14, 2011

Toss your radio and throw out your newspaper. More and more consumers are turning to mobile devices such as smartphones and electronic tablets to catch up on the news. That’s according to a new report from the Project for Excellence in Journalism, a research organization that studies the performance of the press.

The study reveals that news consumption online increased 17 percent last year from the year before. In fact, the Project for Excellence in Journalism reports that a new survey released with this year’s report, produced with Pew Internet and American Life Project in association with the Knight Foundation, finds that nearly half of all Americans (47 percent) now get some form of local news on a mobile device. What they turn to most there is news that serves immediate needs – weather, information about restaurants and other local businesses, and traffic. And the move to mobile is only likely to grow. By January 2011, 7 percent of Americans reported owning some kind of electronic tablet. That was nearly double the number just four months earlier.

So, too, are consumers abandoning their newspapers in favor of the Internet. The report reveals that in 2010 every news platform saw audiences either stall or decline — except for the Web. Cable news, one of the growth sectors of the last decade, is now shrinking, too. For the first time in at least a dozen years, the median audience declined at all three cable news channels. Surprisingly, the Internet now trails only television among American adults as a destination for news, and the trend line shows the gap closing.

This shift in preference is hitting the bottom line hard. Online ad revenue in 2010 is projected to surpass print newspaper ad revenue for the first time, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalist report. What’s worse, the largest chunk of that online ad revenue goes to non-news sources, particularly to aggregators.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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