Online news and ads overtake newspapers for first time

15 Mar 2011

For the first time, online news readership and ad revenues have overtaken print newspapers. Some 46pc of US readers say they get their news online, compared with 40pc who say they get it from the papers.

According to latest State of the News Media report from Pew Research Centre’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, the migration to the web is accelerating. The fire is being fuelled by rapid adoption of smartphone and tablet devices.

Readers are migrating online and according to the study advertisers are following them. Newspaper ad revenues in the US fell 46pc over the past four years to US$22.8bn.

Online advertising, meanwhile, has reached US$25.8bn.

The new intermediaries

“In the 20th century, the news media thrived by being the intermediary others needed to reach customers,” explained Tom Rosensteil, director of Pew Research Centre’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

“In the 21st, increasingly there is a new intermediary: software programmers, content aggregators and device makers control access to the public. The news industry, late to adapt and culturally more tied to content creation than engineering, finds itself more a follower than leader shaping its business.

“Meanwhile, the pace of change continues to accelerate. Mobile has already become an important factor in news. 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 (47pc) 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, 7pc of Americans reported owning some kind of electronic tablet. That was nearly double the number just four months earlier,” Rosensteil said.

Shift to online media