This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

April 20, 2011

Startling Trends in Media

Most of us take our media for granted, newspapers, television, online, and more. We expect these sources of news and entertainment to be there, when we want them. However, a new study from Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, "The State of the News Media 2011" offers some fascinating insights into the near-term future of media.

There are two major trends emerging. One, which we have reported on before, is the continuing migration to mobile as an increasingly important source for news and entertainment. Almost half of all Americans (47 percent) now seek some form of local news on a mobile device. Blackberries, Androids, iPhones, iPads, and new hybrid mobile devices provide the hardware for delivery.

The second and related development is that more people are moving away from television, cable, and newspapers, looking instead, for their news online. With increasing audiences and revenues, online news sources hired their own reporters in record numbers in 2010, and some expect to hire more. These increases, in the face of newspaper and broadcast and cable networks losses, are significant. In fact, every news channel is losing audience with the exception of online.

One would think that therefore, the Internet sites like AOL, Bloomberg, and HuffingtonPost would be in a fantastic position. However, due to the nature of the new distribution systems, a portion of the revenue belongs to the channel delivering a substantial percentage of their audience, e.g., Apple, Google, Facebook, etc. Moreover, news organizations rely increasingly on outside providers to sell their ads, combine their readers, and develop the software that lets them deliver their content digitally.

Also worth mentioning is that seven of the top 25 newspapers in the United States are now owned by hedge funds. Very interesting!

Driven by profit, other news networks will soon adopt France 24's model. Reporting in French, English, and Arabic, the network uses thousands of "observers", throughout the world, including professional journalists, as well as enthusiastic amateurs. Once registered, anyone may contribute a piece---and enjoy onscreen credit with his/her picture. This model has tremendous appeal to providers and consumers alike.


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