The newspaper industry, which has been in decline for several years now, received more bad news with the release of the 2011 Project for Excellence in Journalism’s annual State of the Media report.
For the first time ever, 46 percent of respondents reported getting news online at least three times a week. This surpasses newspapers which came in at 40 percent and was down from 52 percent in 2008, underscoring the decline of the printed page.
This correlates with the continued decline in newspaper circulation, which the study found declined 5% in the year-over-year six-month period ending September 30.
In the past, reading news online required a desktop or laptop computer but as the study showed a full 47 percent of those surveyed now use a wireless device to get their news. This number is sure to increase as only 7 percent of Americans own tablets as of January 2011. The release of the iPad2 last week will only fuel this trend.
Newspapers have struggled to adapt to this new world order by creating apps for smartphones and tablets. Most are free and bring in little or no additional revenue with the exception of The Wall Street Journal, which has attracted 200,000 subscribers to its e-reader and tablet editions. These editions sell from $3.99 per week or $14.99 per month and have been a nice addition to the Journal’s bottom line as they cost less to provide than the printed edition.
Coupled with the decline in television news viewing, it will only be a matter of time before online news becomes the top news source.