Pew: Mobile Is Major News Vehicle

Local TV News Viewership Up; Cable Has Rough Year

Call it a mobile majority — the Pew Research Center does — with a little "short attention span theater" thrown in, but as of the start of 2015, almost 80% (39 of 50) of the top digital news sites were getting more traffic from mobile devices than desktops. In the legacy news department, broadcast viewership was up, while cable had "another rough year."

That is according to a just-released annual State of the News Media study (the 12th edition) from Pew Research Center, which found that desktop visitors tended to spend more time on the sites than mobile surfers. The sites included "legacy print, cable, network, international and public broadcasting outlets as well as digital-only entities."

The top 10 digital news sites by total number of uniques for January 2015 were Yahoo-ABC News, CNN, NBC News, Huffington Post, CBS, USA Today, BuzzFeed, the New York Times, Fox News, and The Daily Mail.

The  rise of online news has not meant legacy platforms are being abandoned, says Pew.

Analyzing data from various sources — Nielsen, comScore, Kagan, BIA/Kelsey — Pew points out that local TV news viewership is up slightly for the evening news (3%) and morning news (2%), and is showing stronger growth in early morning and midday news.

Network newscasts saw a second straight year of audience growth— 5% of the evening news, 2% for morning, and the broadcast evening news still draws a collective 24 million viewers.

On the cable side, median viewership over a 24-hour period was down 7% across Fox, CNN and MSNBC to 1.8 million, with Fox still the clear leader. It was the first time that median figure had dropped since 2010.

Fox was down 2% to 1.1 million, while CNN was up slightly (1%) to 417,000 and MSNBC was down 14% to 334,000.

On the economic side, combined total revenues for the three is projected to see a 4% increase to $3.7 billion, according to Pew analysis of SNL Kagan data. Fox accounts for the majority of that total, up 6% to $2.04 billion. CNN is projected to be up 3% to $1.13 billion and MSNBC down 1% to $501 million.