Monday, March 31, 2014

Pew: Social News

Pew's State of News Media 2014 report includes a look at the growing role of social media in news consumption.  Here's some highlights:
  • News has a place in social media, but usage varies by site.  Half of Facebook and Twitter users get news through their sites, as do 62% of Reddit users.  With Facebook's high penetration, that means about 3 in 10 Americans get some news from Facebook.  There's also some variation in use by site: Twitter is used to get breaking news, while Facebook is used more to share news with friends and followers.  78% of those getting news via Facebook see news items while using Facebook for other purposes.
  •  Audiences for news on social media differ by platform
  • Social media carries, and is used by news consumers, for a wide range of topics.  Almost half of Facebook news users report that they get news on 6 or more topics.  Top news categories on Facebook include Entertainment News, Local community news, and sports. Local news topics account for at least 3 of the top 10 topics (I suspect a lot of the interest in, and use of, sports news is about local teams and events).
  • Social news users not only get news via their social media, they're increasingly engaged with it: sharing or reposting news, discussing news, and posting their own photos, videos, and information about news events.  
  •  News consumers who go directly to news sites for their news tend to be much heavier news users than those who get to news sites through Facebook or search engines.  Those going directly to news sites go more often, consume more content, and spend more time than those arriving at news sites via referrals from social media and search engines.
  • On Twitter, groups of people often come together in response to news events they care about.  These groups tend to be those with strong opinions, which aren't likely to reflect broad public opinion.  In addition, the rapid pace, short content limits, and lack of gatekeeping on Twitter means that initial opinions may be moderated as news consumers get more information

 Sources -  8 Key Takeaways about Social Media and News,  PewResearch Journalism Project report
State of the News Media 2014, full PewResearch Journalism Project study

Pew: Key Indicators of News Use

The PewResearch American Journalism Project released its State of the News Media report for 2013 last week.  The report suggests a news industry in transition, and news audiences starting to shift their patterns of news use as they discover the value of newer news delivery options.  Here's some highlights-

The decline of print
The newspaper industry has been fighting, unsuccessfully, declining subscription and readership numbers for decades.  Even with liberalized definitions for subscribers and the growth in usage of newspapers digital offerings, they managed only a 3% increase in total readership in the last NAA report.  

The outlook's even worse for News Magazines' print editions.  Newsstand sales have dropped 43% since 2008 (although subscriptions have remained steady). Two of the major US news magazines have abandoned print for online, and even with the significantly lower costs of online are struggling to survive.

Readership also continued to decline for the top alternative weeklies, although at a slower pace.

Broadcast & Cable News
The broadcast networks tended to hang on to their aggregate news audiences, although differences continued to exist among the big three performances.  On aggregate, audiences for both the evening and morning news shows grew slightly, but remained within the range of audience numbers over the last few years.

Cable news network audiences declined slightly in 2013, but were coming off a Presidential election year (so no real surprise there).  2013 was more notable for the continuing fall of CNN, whose ratings have been hitting 20 year lows in recent weeks, leaving CNN in the cable news ratings basement.  MSNBC, lacking a significant Republican to bash, dropped a quarter of its primetime audience in 2013.  Fox News Channel retained its ratings dominance in ratings, and continue to reap the benefits, generating almost twice the revenues of CNN, and four times the revenues of MSNBC.

Local newscasts from broadcast stations started to gain audiences in 2013, building on the growing morning news programming, and greater use of mid-day and afternoon time slots for expanded news offerings.  With more stations doing news programming before the main evening newscast, and extending the time for those shows, employment opportunities in local news improved slightly - one of the few bright spots in traditional journalism.

The transformation of the news marketplace is being driven by digital. In 2013, 82% of Americans reported getting news on their desktops or laptops, and more than half (54%) reported getting news through their mobile devices.  Online is where most people go first for news.  Digital operations of newspapers saved readership numbers, and many (but not all) outlets found online subscriptions a growing source of revenues in an otherwise declining market. Digital advertising dollars remain the fastest growing segment (soon to surpass TV), although the share earned by traditional news outlets is shrinking and is unlikely to replace print and TV advertising losses.  2013, and the last few years, have seen a surge in the use of commercial online-only news outlets, other online news sources, and social media by audiences.  outlets.

More transformational has been the developing role that social media plays in the news process.  News users are increasingly involved in disseminating news (sharing reports), discussing it with others, and contributing content (primarily photos and videos) to developing stories.

Source: Key Indicators in Media & News, a report of the PewResearch Journalism Project (part of State of the News Media 2014 study)

Social Media Week Infographic: Social Media Wars

From A Global Overview of Social Media Use, Digital Information World

Social Media Week Infographic: Key Trends for 2014

From 6 Ways Social Media Will Change in 2014, Edudemic

Social Media Week Infographics: The Big Players

Source -  Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, LinkdIn - Social Media Stats 2014,  AllTwitter

Friday, March 28, 2014

Social, Digital & Mobile Around the World (slideshare)

I'm hoping that this embed of the slide show works.  If not, you can access the slideshow here.

Milepost: 500,000,000 iPhones

Apple sold its 500 millionth iPhone recently.

When introduced in 2007, Steve Jobs predicted sales of 10 million by the end of 2008, and one senior financial analysts forecast that Apple would have "a difficult time" making it, pointing out that at that time, Nokia was selling more cellphones a week than Apple had sold iPhones.  And thereby joining the gallery of famously bad predictions.  In fact, Apple sold 13.8 million iPhones in 2008, and is currently selling a million iPhones a month, just in China.

While Apple is losing market share to Android in terms of mobile operating systems, their history of build quality, integration of components, and innovation suggests that iPhone's future remains positive.  At the current rate, they should hit a billion units sold sometime in the next three-four years.

Source -  Without Much Fanfare, Apple Has Sold Its 500 Millionth iPhone, Forbes

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pew: The State of American Journalism Revenues

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way...Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
 The State of News Media 2014 report estimates that the news industry in the U.S. generated around $65 billion in 2013.  That figure combines advertising and subscription/sales revenues.  To put that in context, global video game revenues are $93 billion, and Google had revenues of $53 billion.  But is that good?  Print's future looks increasingly dismal; broadcast's holding its own; but the online news world is generating more usage and revenues - and their revenues are growing rapidly.  While online revenues are currently small compared to traditional revenue streams for news media.  However, they are growing rapidly, even as digital opens myriad opportunities to develop new revenue streams.

Key findings in the 2014 report:
  • Advertising remains the dominant source for news revenues, accounting for roughly two-thirds of the total,
  • Audience revenues is the other major source, generating about 25% of news revenues
  • Alternative revenue sources and streams account for a growing share of news revenues. However, there contribution is small, with all other sources contributing just 8% of the total.
There are, however, significant variations across media.   Print media revenues are declining (particularly print ad revenues), while radio and TV advertising remains fairly stable.  The boom is in online and mobile advertising revenues, but those remain a small piece of the pie.

On the audience side, there are signs that traditional subscription payments are starting to decline.  Traditional print circulation and subscription numbers are starting to fall, despite (or as a response to) increasing subscription costs.  And while the newspaper industry is hoping that paywalls and digital subscriptions to online versions may recoup losses, a recent NAA study found that virtually all of the digital subscription gains in recent years come from 5 major newspapers.  There are signs, on the other hand, that various media are finding revenues through content licensing, and repurposing content for distribution through alternative channels. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

State of the News Media 2014 - Pew's annual report

The Pew Research Journalism Project has just released its annual State of the (US) News Media report for 2014.  It's a big report with a lot of information, conclusions, and recommendations.

The report suggests that 2013 (and the early part of 2014) has seen the continuing transformation of the U.S. marketplace for news - on both the supply and demand side.  It's seen an explosion in digital news outlets, "bringing technological knowhow and new money and luring top talent."  It's seen the development of new and alternative revenue sources, the expansion of news into social media channels.  As a result, the way people seek and consume news is changing; the report suggests that "the level of new activity this past year is creating a perception that something important, perhaps even game-changing, is going on."

The reports overview identifies six major trends:
  1. The expansion of digital news outlets is creating job opportunities, particularly in the form of international reporting.
  2. The new money and digital outlets "may be more about fostering new ways of reporting and reaching audience" than developing sustainable revenue streams.
  3. Developments in social and mobile are changing the dynamics of news production and consumption.
  4. The new digital forms are fostering "new ways of storytelling," but bring both promise and challenge.
  5. Local TV underwent massive change in ownership structures in 2013, with greater use of "shared content" in local newscasts.
  6. News outlets are just beginning to recognize the shifting demographics of U.S. audiences, primarily in the expansion of Spanish-language content and outlets.
As I regularly do when these reports come out, I hope to do more focused posts on the various areas and topics covered by the report.  In a change for this year, Pew is publishing the full report in sections rather than as a single document  In the meantime, I'll post links to the report below.

Sources -  State of the News Media 2014: Overview,  report by PewResearch Journalism Project.
State of the News Media 2014 Complete Report

Monday, March 24, 2014

Web@25 - Graphics version

From Web Turns 25: 10 Graphics to See,  Information Week -

 Visualization of Website traffic
 Social networking through Facebook
 Web Health around the world
(Access, openness, content, empowerment)

US ad spending trends (graphed)

From the Wall Street Journal,

Infographic: Public Opinion on Online Privacy

From a Wall Street Journal story comes this graphic (based on Pew data):

Metrics - Nielsen undercounting online video?

A report from Pivotal Research Group suggests a large and growing gap in measuring online video use.  The study compared metrics from Nielsen with those coming from comScore, showing a sizable and growing gap in terms of online video usage between the two metrics.  Currently, the estimates from comScore show roughly 3 times the amount of online video viewing as suggested by Nielsen's current proposed metric.

There are several reasons for the difference.  One major difference is in how each defines "online video viewing": comScore includes both streams and downloads, and counts all video streams; while Nielsen only includes streams of TV programming.  (Nielsen relies on embedded tags to measure TV viewing; Netflix, for example, strips all of those tags from the videos it streams, so Nielsen doesn't include any viewing from the dominant online video streaming service).  Then again, Nielsen is funded by TV networks, stations, and broadcast advertising industry, so might be more conservative in measuring viewing that isn't ad-supported.  comScore, on the other hand, is the primary metric used by online advertising industry, as it more directly counts viewing of online video ads.  Neither metric currently includes viewing on the full range of mobile devices, however.

Based on numbers from the last quarter of 2013, comScore put online viewing at 8.6% of all TV viewing (15% among active online video users).  Nielsen placed total online viewing at 2.6% (4.9% for active online video users).

Source -  Report Reveals Gross Disparity In Online Video Ratings, Implies Overstatement,  Online Video Daily

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Goin' Mobile: In UK, mobile ad passes print this year, TV in 2017

A recent eMarketer research report predicts that advertising revenues for mobile media outlets will top 2 billion pounds this year, surpassing print newspaper advertising revenues.  The study also forecasts that mobile ads will account for half of all digital ad revenues in 2016, surpassing TV advertising revenues. Mobile is slated to become the single largest advertising channel (by revenues) the following year.

The growth rate for digital and mobile ad revenues will continue to be at least double that of more traditional media throughout the forecast.

Source -  UK mobile advertising set to overtake newspaper ad revenue in 2014,

Pew's Web@25 Studies

The Pew Research Center has released a series of reports on the history, status, and future of the Internet, in conjunction with the 25th Anniversary of the World Wide Web.

The Web at 25 in the U.S. looked at a range of surveys looking at how the Internet is used by people, and their views of the Internet and the content and services it offers.  Over the 25 years of the Web, internet usage among U.S. adults has grown from 14% to 87%.  90% of those surveyed earlier this year indicated that the Internet has been beneficial for them, while 76% indicated that they thought the Internet had been good for society.  In fact, the Internet is the technology that people are least willing to give up.  In fact, a range of digital and mobile technologies have become an integral, and crucial, part of people's lives.

And while press coverage and political discussions often focus on the more negative aspects of the Web, most users (76%) report that they've been treated well (kind or generous) in their online interactions, two-thirds (67%) felt that online communication has strengthened their relationships with friends and family, more than half (56%) indicate they've witnessed online groups coming together to help people or to solve a community problem.  In contrast, only 25% report ever been treated badly or have ever abandoned a site or service because it's gotten ugly (users attacked or discussions becoming virulent).

Digital Life in 2025 summarizes the predictions of a group of key experts.  Most agreed on the key technological trends - that the Internet will become even more ubiquitous, integrated, and immersive; that the Web will increasingly integrate tags, sensors, apps, and intelligent agents to facilitate people's ability to use online content and services.  They also widely agreed that the digital network economy will disrupt 20th century business models.  This can be beneficial, creating the potential for fostering awareness and understanding, building relationships, and promoting collaboration and social group action.  On the other hand, the same potential can provide opportunities for abuse.  But the biggest threat is the possibility that nations (or other organizations) could co-opt the network, restricting and limiting the Web's potential through imposed regulations and structured access - turning the Internet into an instrument of political and social control rather than an open marketplace.

The choices we make today - our willingness to trade freedom for security, diversity for the safety of conformity, and privacy for convenience - will go a long way to determining what kind of internet we'll have in the future, and whether it remains a social good, or a mechanism for control.

Sources -  What the Internet of 2025 Might Look Like,
The Web at 25 in the U.S.,  PewResearch Internet Project report
Digital Life in 2025,  Pew Research Internet Project report

Monday, March 3, 2014

Print readership for newspapers - Half-full, or Half-empty?

A recent study by the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) trade group reported significant growth in digital and mobile readership, yet also proudly proclaimed that 54% of newspaper audiences only read their local newspaper through its print edition.  Overall, the NAA reported circulation gains of about 3%. Also reported was the fact that print circulation has fallen to 71% of total circulation (75% of Sunday circulation), down from 85% the year before (a 20% decline).  The size of this year's shift, it should be noted, may be coming from a change in AAM reporting, which lets publishers decide whether subscribers of both the digital and print editions get counted as print subscribers or as digital subscribers.  With most ad revenue growth in digital, they may be choosing to emphasize those numbers.

One interpretation of the more than half of circulation remaining print-only is that there's still a significant role for print editions.  Another is that almost half of readers don't ever access their local newspaper digitally.  Newspaper readership is not only in general decline - it seems to be splintering, with older readers sticking with print, and younger readers shifting their news consumption to online and mobile sources.  The NAA report said that 30% of readers use a combination of print and digital sources, and 15% only use digital.  According to the NAA report,
"a closer examination of the elements, supported by readership data, does confirm a steady transition to digital reach among newspapers and a healthy print readership base for readers and advertisers."

A deeper look showed an industry in widespread decline.  Almost all of the circulation gains were by the five largest U.S. newspapers, and predominantly from increased digital circulation.  A breakdown by circulation showed aggregate circulation losses in all other segments.  The report notes that most smaller papers are posting print circulation declines smaller than seen in some of the biggest urban dailies.  Smaller, perhaps, but declines nonetheless.

From an economic perspective, it's clear that there is a strong and rapidly growing digital market for news.  News organizations, whether newspapers, broadcast networks and local stations, magazines and radio would be well-served to develop easily-accessible online delivery systems for the news they produce (mobile apps in particular).  The audience is going there, and frankly, the distribution costs are minimal compared to traditional media.  However, there remains a sizable portion of news consumers who remain loyal to traditional media formats - particularly for their traditional local news sources.  Local news organizations need to still consider that audience segment before going all-digital.

Source - NAA: 'Print only' still more than half of newspaper audience even as digital grows, Poynter