March 22, 2009

Who Fared Best (and Worst) in 2008?

In an especially challenging year, some media sectors managed to post profits and increase audiences. But most of the news business saw declines in both.

Across media sectors, audience and economic shifts indicate that cable news was the big winner in 2008. With both ad revenue and audience gains of more than 25%, the three cable news channels stood far above other news media. Online news also showed growth in both areas, but display advertising, on which news largely depends, grew a mere 4% through the first three quarter of 2008, and was expected to show declines. And, except for very slight audience growth in audio, all other sectors saw declines in both ad spending and audience, with newspapers and print magazines faring worst.

These trends in economics and audience are among the key findings from the State of the News Media 2009 report. In addition to looking across media sectors, the report offers sector-specific findings on the eight major sectors of media—newspapers, online, network TV, cable TV, local TV, magazines, ethnic and radio.