Local News Trends & Facts | State of the news media
MORE INFORMATION SHEETS: MEDIA STATUS
Television remains a commonplace for Americans to get their news, with local television tied with or surpassing cable and network TV. In 2020, the local television news saw its audience increase in the evening and late evening time slots. Financially, local television companies generated more revenue in 2020 than in 2019, in line with a cyclical trend in which revenues increase in election years and decrease in non-election years. Check out the trends and longitudinal data in local TV news below.
In 2020, audiences for local network affiliated news channels (ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC) increased in two key time slots – evening (4 p.m. to 7 p.m.) and late evening (11 p.m. at 2 hrs) – according to Comscore StationView Essentials® The data. The average local television audience (defined as the average number of televisions tuned to a program over a period) for the late night and evening news time slots both increased by 4%. The average audience for the morning newspaper (6 a.m. to 9 a.m.) decreased by 4% in 2020. The audience for the noon newspaper (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) increased by 10% in 2020, while the average audience for the main newspaper time slot (8 p.m.-11 p.m.) reduced by 5%.
Average local television news audience
- Key time slots
- Noon and prime
The revenues of local television stations generally follow a cyclical pattern: they increase in election years and decrease in non-election years. In 2020, an election year, live local TV advertising revenue totaled $ 18.4 billion, an 8% increase from 2019, according to Pew Research Center analysis of MEDIA Access Pro & Data. BIA Advisory Services.
The total digital advertising revenue of local TV stations increased 6% in 2020, reaching a total of about $ 1.4 billion. Digital ad revenue accounted for 7% of total ad revenue.
According to the BIA Advisory Services database, the revenues of the 839 local television stations defined as “news stations” (stations which have a news director and which are viable, commercial and are English-language subsidiaries in the United States) amounted to $ 15.3 billion.
Revenues from retransmission fees – the fees paid by cable and satellite systems to carry local channels – have grown rapidly over the past decade, although the growth rate has slowed recently, according to Kagan estimates. , a media research group within S&P Global Market. Intelligence. In 2019, retransmission revenues reached $ 11.9 billion, up from $ 11.1 billion in 2018 and $ 9.5 billion in 2017. Kagan predicts that figure will reach $ 13.3 billion by the time. 2025.
Five major public local television stations – Gray, Nexstar, Scripps, Sinclair and Tegna – report political advertising revenue separately from other types of revenue in their documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In 2020, the five companies reported a total of $ 2 billion in political advertising revenue, up from $ 1.2 billion in 2018 and $ 843 million in 2016, the last two election years. (These five companies were once seven, but this reduction is due to two mergers – Nexstar bought Media General in 2017 and Tribune in 2019.)
Investment in the press room
About 30,000 employees worked as reporters, editors, photographers or editors or television, film and video operators in television newsrooms in 2020, according to employment and salary statistics data from the Bureau of Labor. Statistics. The median salary of publishers in 2020 was around $ 60,000, while that of journalists was around $ 56,000. For television, film and video editors and camera operators, the median salary was around $ 55,000. Photographers had a median salary of around $ 50,000. (Data on broadcast TV newsroom employment and wages include national and local broadcasters. For details, see methodology.)
Employment in television newsrooms
The average amount of local news programming on weekday television increased slightly in 2020, according to the RTDNA / Newhouse School survey at Syracuse University. Local television stations spent an average of 6.2 hours on news programming per weekday in 2020, up slightly from 5.9 hours in 2018 and 2019.
In 2020, 189 local television channels changed hands at a cost of $ 3.6 billion, as reported annually by BIA Advisory Services. This is down from the $ 6.5 billion spread across 102 stations that experienced ownership changes in 2019.
Find out more
Read the methodology.
Pew Research Center is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its main funder. This is the latest report from the Pew Research Center’s ongoing survey of the State of News, Information and Journalism in the Digital Age, a research program funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, with the generous support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Find more in-depth explorations of local TV news by following the links below:
- Coronavirus slowdown hits newspapers hard as TV news thrives, October 29, 2020
- Local news plays an important role for Americans during COVID-19 outbreak, July 2, 2020
- COVID-19: national and local news, April 29, 2020
- Who pays for local news in the United States?, September 12, 2019
- Older Americans, Black Americans, and Less Educated Americans More Interested in Local News, August 14, 2019
- It is more common for older, more educated white Americans to have spoken with local reporters, May 10, 2019
- For local news, Americans are going digital but still want a strong community connection, March 26, 2019
- Interactive: What is the dynamics of local news in your city ?, March 26, 2019