Are Newspapers and TV Dying?

Where do you get your news? If you're like me, it's a combination of web and cable with a few magazines sprinkled in along with the Sunday New York Times… in that order.

Apparently, I'm becoming a statistic. According to the latest data from Pew Internet Project, some 50 million Americans turn to the internet for news on a typical day. That, incidentally, is a new high for online news-gathering that coincides with rapid growth of broadband adoption in American homes.

Pew says that for broadband internet users, online news is a more regular part of the daily news diet than is the local paper. It is also nearly as much of a daily habit as is getting news from national TV newscasts and radio. Not surprisingly, for home dial-up users, online news is not as much an everyday activity.

Just in case you're keeping track, over the last four years, overall internet penetration rose from 58 percent of all adult Americans to 70 percent, and home broadband penetration grew from 20 million people (or 10 percent of adult Americans) to 74 million people (37 percent of adult Americans).

Speaking of news media, a new study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism says that 2005 may go down in history as "the year when journalism in print began to die."

The report bases that ominous ruling on events such as newsroom staff cuts, scandals, downward spiraling stock prices, declining circulation, and frustrated investors putting Knight Ridder up for sale.

Actually, it's not so much a death of newspapers, which happen to be the internet's primary suppliers, but rather a "seismic transformation in what and how people learn about the world around them."

The report says that the circulation declines and job cuts will probably tally at only about three percent for the year. The industry still posted profit margins of 20 percent. Measuring print and online together, the readership of many newspapers is higher than ever. (You can read the entire, quite voluminous report, online.) Also interesting are the 250 charts on newspaper, magazine, television (network, cable, local), radio, and online. Just keep in mind that some of the data is two to three years old.

Staying in the galaxy of traditional media for another moment, it seems apropos to mention that a survey released on Wednesday at the annual Association of National Advertisers concluded that TV advertising is becoming less and less effective. According to the ANA, 78 percent of respondents to the study think TV advertising is less effective than it was two years ago, mainly due to the proliferation of digital video recorders that allow users to skip commercials. (DVRs are approaching the tipping point of 30 million homes.)

As a result, TV ad spend is expected to drop five to10 percent beginning in the 2007 season, as advertisers explored other venues. 61 percent of respondents are reportedly interested in branded entertainment within shows; 55 percent are looking at TV program sponsorships; 45 percent are looking at online video ads and 44 percent at product placement.

As for online video, a new eMarketer report says that more than 100 million people worldwide will be turning to paid or sponsored mobile broadcast video very soon. The report, "Mobile TV for Marketers: Monetizing the Smallest Screen," estimates that by next year, an estimated 13.9 million subscribers will watch broadcast TV on their phones, while 114.2 million watch video on their phones.

Online radio usage is up as well. comScore says that traffic to the Radio category increased 27 percent over the past year to 33.5 million unique visitors in February 2005.

All that said, the IAB timed that release of Video Measurement Guidelines quite perfectly. The IAB is calling for public comment and will unveil the final draft at the IAB Leadership Forum: Broadband and Beyond on May 15 in New York.

Finally, the rumor I mentioned last week turned into reality, as DoubleClick this week acquired Falk eSolutions.

"Falk is a natural fit with DoubleClick because of its commitment to product innovation, reliability and local customer service. Combined with DoubleClick's seasoned industry experience, scalability and global presence, together we will be able to offer clients a feature-rich solution which can enable them to increase ROI on their digital advertising investments," says David Rosenblatt, CEO of DoubleClick.

Terms of the deal were not announced.

iMedia Connection Editor at Large Masha Geller is the founder of interactive marketing and corporate communications consultancy Geller Public Relations in New York. She has been covering the interactive advertising industry since 1999 as the former editor in chief of MediaPost.com, and is a widely-published thought leader in the interactive arena.

 

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