migration of viewership and readership

The migration of viewership and readership to digital format has had a divergent effect on various traditional media. For instance, the migration from print media (newspapers and magazines) to digital-based news media has been relatively slow (56% of people still prefer to read print formats), but the general explosion of digital media in general has meant that most advertising is now online. In fact, online advertising is now an $84 billion industry and is expected to grow at about 11% per year through 2019. Online advertising includes display advertising (web banner), mobile advertising, e-mail marketing, search engine marketing, paid searches (pay- per-click) that direct traffic to particular websites, video ads, and social media marketing.

Newspapers have by far been hit the hardest financially compared to other media platforms with significant losses in advertising dollars. As described in the opening case study, advertising revenue losses in print newspapers have increased significantly in the last few decades. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, newspapers have lost a total of $30 billion in advertising revenues between 2006 and 2014—from $46 billion to $16.4 billion. Print advertising revenues are expected to continue to decline through 2019, with digital news advertising revenues not expected to keep pace. For instance, digital advertising in the newspaper market increased 3.4% in 2014, while print advertising decreased 8.7%.

In essence, readership of newspapers is down overall, with some readers migrating to digital newspaper formats, but with most readers preferring traditional print formats. And yet media advertising is now largely online, where the line between specific media types (television, newspaper, etc.) is blurred. One reason that the migration of advertising dollars from print to digital hasn’t been a smooth one for newspapers is because consumers of print newspapers have not necessarily transitioned to the digital version of the same product since newspaper digital platforms, such as USA Today and the Chicago Tribune, are now competing for the same advertising dollars as cable news channels, such as CNN online.

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