Alloy logo

May 08, 2015

Team Member Renee Spurling

Renee Spurlin


Executive Vice President

It’s that magical time of year for all media and PR pro’s around the country! Pew Research Center has unveiled its 12th Annual State of the News Media report addressing all of our burning questions on where, how and what audiences are tuning into for news. Have mobile devices finally destroyed print outlets? What kind of news do adults gather via Facebook? Does anyone watch local news anymore? Pew’s collection of aggregated data point to some interesting trends in our digitally savvy society’s media preferences. Below are my key takeaways from this year’s report:

The Digital Drive:

Unsurprisingly, the mobile wave continues full speed ahead in 2015. According to Pew’sreport, 78 percent of the top 50 digital news websites receive most of their traffic from mobile users, as opposed to desktop. However, the minority desktop users reportedly spend more time on news sites than their mobile counterparts. So what does this mean? Shorter, concise media stories with bold headlines will experience favoritism over longer, detail-filled articles in order to meet the needs (and attention spans) of mobile audiences on-the-go. Curious about which digital outlets are receiving the most traffic?

The top 5 most-visited media outlets online include: 

  • Yahoo-ABC News

  • CNN

  • NBC

  • Huffington Post

  • CBS

The top 5 most-visited digital-native outlets are:

  • Huffington Post

  • BuzzFeed

  • Bleacher Report

  • Business Insider

  • CNET

    News Habits in 2015:

    In another interesting twist, Pew found that adults who gather news online are increasingly taking in their daily dose of news via Facebook. Yep, Facebook. And we’re not talking about your cousin’s wedding announcement or your college roommate’s vacation updates. Nearly half of all adult web-users are getting their politics and government media updates through Facebook!

    These changing habits affect the media industry tremendously, with outlets paying close attention to how they will reach their audiences. For example, the Internet has helped audio outlets expand their audiences as well. Even in the car, Pew found that consumers are listening to online radio six times more than they were five years ago. In fact, Podcast listenership has almost doubled in the last seven years from nine to 17 percent – NPR alone had a 41 percent increase in podcast downloads in the last year!

    Other key audience trends:

    • Network News audiences:

    5 percent increase in the evening and 2 percent increase in morning

    • Cable News audience:

    8 percent decrease in primetime viewership

    • Newspaper circulation:

    3 percent decrease in daily and Sunday circulation

    • Local News audiences:

    3 percent increase in average evening broadcast viewership

Local TV News On The Rise:

Local media has a lot more PR power than companies are aware of. At AR|PR, we have helped many clients land a local media story which led to national coverage. In addition, Pew’s report reveals that local media and network news garner higher viewership during morning and evening broadcasts, while cable news prime-time viewership decreased eight percent. Here’s the stats: Local TV viewership saw a three percent increase in the evening and a two percent increase in the morning – but very early morning (4:30 am) news saw a whopping six percent increase! This goes to show that traditional media is still holding strong, and that local media should definitely not be undervalued.

Ultimately, digital trends that drive our everyday habits are absolutely impacting today’s media industry. While its easy to make assumptions about which outlets have greater impact over others, based on our personal news preferences, Pew’s State of the Media 2015 report reminds us that no outlet, channel or format of media is dominating the changing world we live in. At Alloy, we love staying up to date on news media trends, so be sure to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for all the latest tips to help you #MakeNews!