Local television news, long the largest source of income for local stations, has been losing audience steadily over the last decade and took yet another downturn last year, according to a new study by the Pew Center for Journalism and the Media.
Among the findings:
- Local news continues to garner more audience that cable news, but cable news passed it last year during the election season. This did not hurt the bottom line too bad since election ads led to increased revenues for local and cable news operations alike.
- Viewership on local ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates declined 31 percent for late-night news, 12 percent for morning shows and 19 percent for early evening news.
- Yet, stations earned 11 percent more than in 2015 and even outstripped recent election years – making $20.6 billion, compared to $20.3 billion in 2012 and $20 billion in 2008.
- Salaries climbed 7 percent overall, with the biggest increases for news directors and assistant news directors.