Trend Update: Digital Media Surpasses Print Media

  • Posted by Steve Goldberg
  • |
  • April 3, 2011

It’s finally happened as the predictions called it: online/digital media has officially passed print as the dominant source for news, according to the annual State of the Media report from the Pew Research Center, growing by 17% in terms of audience last year.

We’ve already seen what one print newspaper is doing, like the New York Times for instance, they’ve launched their paywall application with Apple in order to boost its readership for those mobile hungry consumers. Other studies have surfaced with interactive ads (click for study) having higher engagement and mindshare than static print ads.

While certain trends are clear, there seems to be a great deal of the “unknown” in terms of how consumer behavior is shifting. One thing to keep in mind is that the content people gravitate to most, particularly when it comes to news and information about public affairs, is still traditional, neutral, conventional news coverage. By far.

Of the top 25 news sites, all are traditional in the nature of their content. Of the top 200 news sites, 87% of them are traditional in nature (Media Life). Here are some recent stats:

Newspaper newsrooms have been cut to ribbons because of the decline, and are now 30% smaller than they were in 2000, according to Pew. As the migration to the web gathered speed in 2010, every other platform declined, including a precipitous decline of 13.7% in the cable news genre (the first time in at least 12 years the median cable news audience has declined.) Online ad revenue in 2010 is also projected to surpass print newspaper ad revenue for the first time. Revenue actually bounded back for every medium except newspapers last year, led by the Local TV space, which increased revenue by 17%.


Percentage Change in Audience, 2009-2010
Medium        % Change in Audience
Online 17.10%
Local TV -1.50%
Network TV -3.40%
Newspapers -5.00%
Audio -6.00%
Magazines   -8.9%
Cable TV -13.70%
Source: Pew Research Center  



Percentage Change in Revenue, 2009-2010
Medium       % Change in Revenue
Local TV 17.00%
Online 13.90%
Cable TV   8.40%
Network TV   6.60%
Audio   6.00%
Magazines   1.40%
Newspapers  -6.40%

More statistics to wrap your heads around…

1.  Google’s YouTube continues to dominate the growing world of online video with over 141 million watching video content on Google sites last month for a total of 1.8 billion viewing sessions, according to ComScore. Facebook saw a significant uptick in viewing during the month, attracting over 46 million viewers who enjoyed 170 million viewing sessions. This was up from 42 million viewers and 122 million viewing sessions in January.

Source: comScore Video Metrix * experienced a positive step-change in its data this month due to the inclusion of an additional video serving location that was not previously credited to Facebook.

2.  Total minutes spent gabbing on mobile phones in 2010 was actually down from the previous year but data usage was way up, according to figures released from theCTIA.

  • Data traffic was 226.5 billion mbps, up 110% from 107.8 billion in 2009
  • SMS text messages jumped 31% to 2.05 trillion
  • MMS multimedia messaging increased 64% to 56.6 billion
  • The number of smartphones in use increased by 57% to 78.2 million

3.  The number of interactive video ads served within the AdoTube Ad Network grew by 50% during Q4 to account for 50% of ads served while simple pre-rolls fell to a 30%, according to company’s new Q4 2010 In-Video Ad Format Index. However Branded Overlays bounced back during the quarter to reclaim a 20% share of all ads served.

It’s been clear for quite some time that as print is consumed less and less, eyeballs shift more to the digital space. I wonder how many year(s) it will take before things like NY Times paywall app surpass readership of its print paper? If you have any thoughts or other stats, I’d love to hear them.