TV is still the most common way for Americans to get local news, but fewer people are watching


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


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Local TV is trusted and is still the preferred method of getting news (thanks mostly to people 50 and up). But viewership for local TV news continues to decline, according to research released by Pew this week. Pew also took a look at cable and network news, and here are some of their findings about 2018 in TV.

Local TV: Audience declines, but a tiny bit more time is spent on news

— Local TV audiences were down for the morning, evening, and late-night time slots. — The amount of local TV news programming actually increased very slightly, from an average of 5.6 hours per day in 2017 to an average of 5.9 hours in 2018, as reported previously by a RTDNA/Hofstra survey. — Advertising revenues were up, aided by the 2018 midterm elections.

Cable TV: Audience (and revenue and profit) grows

— After a dip between 2016 and 2017, cable news audiences grew in 2018: “The average combined audience (defined as the average number of TVs tuned to a program throughout a time period) for the prime news time slot (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.) of [CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC] increased 8%, to about 1.25 million…The average audience for the daytime news time slot (6 a.m. to 6 p.m.) increased by 5%.” — Revenue was up 4% for CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC.

Network TV: Audiences are stable for evening newscasts, down in the morning

If you’d like more, the fact sheets are here, here, and here.
TV news camera and van by Tom Woodward used under a Creative Commons license.

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