The means through which people access the news is constantly evolving, therefore advertisers might have to get creative. The Pew Research released the State of News Media 2016 recently, and due to digital news media the report showed declines in almost all news audience trends including newspaper, local television, and network television. Cable TV saw the only impactful increase (8%) for combined average viewership for prime-time news. With the rise in digital media, news outlets are beginning to develop innovative ways to share the news, which may mean new and creative opportunities for advertisers.
The newspaper sector saw its worst year since the recession in 2015, with a 7% decline for average weekday newspaper circulation in both print and digital. Individually, digital circulation did have a 2% increase, but it only accounts for 22% of total circulation and has not made a serious impact for revenue solutions. There was also a decline in total advertising revenue among publicly traded companies at 8% for print and digital. Print newspaper is hoping that its usual subscribers stick it out until the digital transition begins to make a helpful impact, but recent data suggests otherwise. In the January 2016 Pew Research Center survey, only 5% of U.S. adults learned about the presidential election in the past week “most helpfully” through print newspaper. With a consistent decline in print newspapers, advertisers may need to start reconsidering where they want to spend their dollars.
The impact of digital media has certainly taken its toll on news outlets, but with the exception of newspapers, TV has seen positive outcomes from advertising. The three televised news sectors - cable, local, and network - have seen established growth as advertisers and the public are still focused on TV despite the rise in digital video developments. In 2015, network television grew ad revenues by 6% in the evening, and 14% in the morning. Cable saw growth in both, ad revenue and subscriber revenue, with a 10% increase totaling $4 billion for Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC combined. While local ad revenue saw a down year compared to 2014, but that was due to 2014 being an election year and it was higher in 2015 than the last presidential primary year in 2011. As digital becomes more popular and advertisers shift their focus, TV news outlets seem to be in a comfortable position where they may not have to adjust as quickly as print.
Although TV has seen its fair share of growth, it is still feeling the impact of the digital trend. The total digital ad spending grew another 20% in 2015 to about $60 billion. Journalism used to control every aspect of reporting, and while some still focus on journalism, Facebook and Apple have chimed in with their own type of delivering the news. The tech companies are becoming small publisher support systems as they have created ad networks, applications to further impact audience engagement, and involvement in “trending topics” selections. Even Snapchat has launched a new feature that will begin using an algorithm for news story selection. Advertisement has greatly shifted its spending as a recent survey states 62% of U.S. adults now get the news on social media sites. Along with improvements in streaming video capabilities, advertising has become easier on social media platforms while reaching a larger audience.
News outlets are forced to adapt and develop ways to attract a larger audience, and this may provide new opportunities to advertisers. The New York Times and The Des Moines Register are working with virtual reality journalism that can let consumers “experience” the news themselves. The “VR journalism” shares personal messages and issues from around the world. You are able to hear stories in their own words and voices. While this has a chance to revolutionize the reporting world, advertisers may face an upward battle with it. As it is completely different than reading the article on a site or newspaper that has designated areas for advertising. Another development has been adopted by The Washington Post and Quartz called “chatbots” , which is similar to Apple’s Siri. Chatbots send out personalized headlines through texts or mobile messaging services. The news that a person receives is dependent upon the key terms that a user sends to the bot. This development may provide more opportunity for sponsorship and advertisements if the Chatbot catches on with users. Time will tell if these latest developments may bring more attraction to the news outlets, as it’s not up to news outlets or tech companies on how the audience prefers to receive the news. Either way, advertisers will have to start getting creative when it comes to working with news outlets.