Becoming Digital

A new Pew survey shows that television is  still the dominant form of news gathering for the audience. While newspapers have been cutting out staff and seeing dwindling shares, online news gathering is seen to be replacing them. The survey conducted in February this year gives a rough estimate of the different media used for news gathering by audience. Television stands at 57 percent, digital comes in at second place at 38 percent. Radio follows with a 25 percent share and print newspaper is at the bottom with 20 percent.

However, despite being second, digital news is next in line to throne of news gathering.  Digital sources tanked high with coverage regarding political news especially elections. This figure is higher for 2016 elections (up until the time of the survey) than to 2012 elections.

The study further points to growth of digital audiences for a majority of the news outlets studied. 77 out of 110 saw a higher increase in the digital audience in the fourth quarter of 2015 as compared to the previous year. The native-digital site also saw a rise in their digital audiences.

It is interesting and very important to include the digital native sites because in future ( and at present also) many startups are digital natives.  Digital native websites have to rely on aggregator or user-content generated website to reach audiences. Sites like Facebook, Twitter or YouTube are the middlemen in this case. It will be interesting to have research on how much is the level of dependence for new online news sites on these aggregator sites.

At the moment Apple has its Apple News newsreader app that all publishers can use to put their content in. Facebook too has an Instant Articles format for publishers.

One major reason for this growth of digital subscription is the ease and access of mobile technology. With digital access increasing around the world, people have become more and more hooked onto their cell-phones.

This brings us to the important question of the relationship between new media technology and the revenue stream. While some news organizations have online subscription rates, others rely on advertising. But digital advertising works in a different way than print advertising. Pew research mentions that the data for digital advertisements is lacking in details to be able to reach a conclusion.

The total amount spent in 2015 on digital advertising was $59.6 Billion, but it was divided among search engines, social media and news and others websites.

While the study explores the ways and formats in which advertising is growing, it is important to research on the relationship between the digital ads and online news sites and whther it is consistent across the sites or is it based on analytics.