News media industry

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Insights and Trends - News Media Industry: United States

While it well-known that consumers access news through a variety of print, digital, and audio sources, the dynamics are constantly changing. In 2019, top trends indicate consumer preferences as to where they want their news delivered and how they want to receive it, along with news media's attempt to recognize trends and adapt to them. Doing the job affordably is a major concern as the media industry acknowledges how consumers receive information, hones its response to fake news, examines new channels of distribution, and ponders the developing role of artificial intelligence.


  • Now more than ever, American consumers are taking charge of the media they see and experience by piecing together many sources that might include pay TV, streaming video, music, podcasts, and gaming options they find most valuable. Survey results from Deloitte's annual survey of media trends shows that, for the first time, more respondents have at least one streaming video subscription (69 percent) than have a traditional pay TV subscription (65 percent).
  • 43% of U.S. household subscribe to both pay TV and streaming video services. Use of these services for live TV news, sports, and TV shows is increasing. Consumers can choose from over 300 streaming video services to craft the package they want and are willing to pay for.
  • Due to ever-advancing technology, live streaming is on the rise. News stories often break on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram before the information appears on a news show. With a smartphone in hand, users can be as up to date on the news as on what their friends ate for breakfast.


  • For the past few years, incorrect information posing as accurate news circulates daily on television, social media, and other internet sources. This "fake news" may sound credible, but consumers who have pieced a mosaic of sources may be accessing misleading information.
  • This phenomenon started in 2016 when juicy but false tidbits such as that the Pope endorsed Donald Trump and or that Hillary Clinton was selling weapons to ISIS outperformed real news on Facebook.
  • The result is a revival of investigative journalism, where facts matter. According to Pew Research, as quoted in a LexisNexus report, consumers are becoming more perceptive as to which sources are credible:
1. National news organization: 76% combined score (18%/59%)
2. Local news organizations: 82 %combined score (22% ‘a lot’/60% ‘some’)
3. Friends, family and acquaintances: 77% combined score (14%/63%)
4. Social media: 34% combined score (4%/30%)
  • Newspaper credibility has been declining since the 1970s and now is regarded as a credible source by only 20% of Americans in 2016. However, a recent Gallup poll indicated that in 2018, trust in newspapers had gained seven percentage points and trust in television news gained three points due to an increasing number of credible, thoroughly-investigated stories that dominated headlines throughout 2017.
  • A movement is also underway for social media platforms such as Facebook to develop better ways of screening information for truth and accuracy.
  • Some new journalistic enterprises like Tortoise (UK) and the Dutch De Correspondent now the U.S. are taking their time investigating and releasing stories in contrast to "the current glut of quick, shallow, and reactive coverage."


  • Many consumers have "cut the cord" and subscribed to streaming channels. They are not only accessing the information at home on their television sets, but also on desktop and laptop computers, tablets, smartphones, and more.
  • In an attempt to provide "news on the run" for consumers, the City of New York pioneered a pilot program that replaced pay phones in five boroughs with 1,700 WiFi-enabled kiosks that present city trivia, sports scores, advertisements and now constantly updated top news headlines from AP. Amanda Giddon, the senior consumer marketing manager at Intersection, one of the companies behind LinkNYC, say the kiosks "create a high-impact experience on the street" while offering a "unique platform that can be responsive and integrate real-time data and trigger content based on environmental conditions."


  • Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are voice-enabled digital assistants and are showing potential to change how people engage with media content of all kinds. The market for this equipment grew 140% this year, from 15% in 2017 to 36% in 2018. While most consumers used the assistants to play music, their potential to disseminate news is increasing with rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI).
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) enable virtual assistants and smartphones to better understand what consumers want. Currently, they can play a song, research a fact, find a movie, buy groceries, and turn down the heat in the home, but have potential to speak out news headlines to keep people better informed.
  • Some journalists even see artificial intelligence as crucial to the future of journalism.


  • As traditional newspaper and network TV ad revenues decrease, delivering the news remains a costly proposition for news organizations, who are trying new approaches to finance operations.
  • Advertising in the form of banner ads, popups, and pay-per-click subsidizes content delivery, but media organizations offer subscription services to read or see content (CNN, MSNBC), as well as paywalls that require paying for access to printed information.
  • A survey of 200 editors, CEOs, and digital leaders indicated that the industry is latching unto subscription plans and membership as a revenue source for the news industry going forward. In 2019, over half (52%) expect this to be the major revenue focus in the future, as compared with just 27% for display advertising, 8% for native advertising, and 7% for donations.
  • The media industry is attempting to balance access with revenue. While consumers are piecing together subscription packages to get the news and entertainment content they want, they may tolerate some ads in return for content but are often willing to pay more to minimize or eliminate ads. Meanwhile, they dislike paywalls which restrict access to quality news; the result could be news avoidance and the adoption of ‘paywall-blocking’ software."
  • Media organizations are looking to foundations who are willing to provide operating support to newsrooms that can generate important community-based journalism. In a Reuters survey, 29% expect to see significant help this year from foundations and non-profits, 18% expect tech platforms to contribute more, while 11% think governments will provide more support.


When tracking new trends in the new media industry, researchers are fortunate to have access to a host of credible sources which include not only Pew Research, which does annual reports on the state of the media, but many other research organizations such as NexusLexus, the AP, Deloitte's Center for Technology, Media & Telecommunications, Reuters, and more. In addition, news magazines such as Forbes contribute lists of trends, along with insights about media. As many sources include many of the same trends among their findings, your research team focused on most-frequently mentioned trends to create a list.

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Key Players - News Media Industry: United States

Key players in the United States media industry include CNN, Fox News, USA Today, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Yahoo News, ABC News, and Facebook.










Leading newspaper by daily circulation

  • The Wall Street Journal is the second largest newspaper in the United States by paid circulation.
  • New York Post is the fourth leading US newspaper in circulation reaching 426,129 subscribers daily in January 2019.
  • Los Angeles Times is the fifth leading US newspaper in circulation reaching 417,936 subscribers daily in January 2019.
  • Star Tribune is the seventh leading US newspaper in circulation reaching 251,822 subscribers daily in January 2019.
  • Newsday is the eighth leading US newspaper in circulation reaching 251,473 subscribers daily in January 2019.
  • Chicago Tribune is the ninth leading US newspaper in circulation reaching 238,103 subscribers daily in January 2019.
  • The Boston Globe is the tenth leading US newspaper in circulation reaching 230,756 subscribers daily in January 2019.



In order to determine eight key players in the United States news industry, your research team sought to identify the rankings, ratings and popularity of various news channels through undertaking extensive research across research databases, industry reports, and news sources such as Cision and CNN. Importantly, your research team sought to corroborated insights across multiple credible sources in order to establish ranking of companies among the eight key players in the United States news industry. From the insights, we presented detailed statistics on the viewership of the identified news sources.


From Part 01
  • "AMERICAN CONSUMERS are “piecing together” their own media and entertainment experience from a growing variety of options, according to this year’s Digital media trends survey. While last year’s survey showed consumers had started to take control over their own entertainment experience, now they are moving further in this direction, selecting which services among pay TV, streaming video, music, and gaming options they find most valuable. But they often need to cobble together multiple services—from paid to free, ad-supported options—to watch all of their favorite programs. Still, few would trade their newfound freedom for the limited options of the past."
  • "For the first time in our survey, more respondents have at least one streaming video subscription (69 percent) than have a traditional pay TV subscription (65 percent). But “streaming services versus traditional pay TV” is not an either/or proposition for many: Consumers often want both. Forty-three percent of US households now subscribe to both pay TV and streaming video services. For live TV news, sports, and TV shows, most consumers still turn to traditional pay TV networks, although live TV streaming services are gaining traction."
  • "With more than 300 streaming video services to choose from,5 consumers are trying and buying a variety of subscription-based or ad-supported video streaming services. Given the intense competition for viewers, consumers can usually find what they want to watch for what they’re willing to pay—if they’re willing to manage multiple subscriptions. And they are willing. Consumers subscribe to an average of three paid streaming video services. "
  • "Some consumers are willing to pay a subscription fee to have an ad-free experience: 44 percent of respondents cited “no ads” as a top reason for subscribing to a new paid streaming video service. Others are willing to view ads in exchange for content. Among millennials who stream video, nearly one-half (46 percent) of the time they stream from paid services, and nearly one-third (29 percent) of the time they stream from free, ad-supported video sites like YouTube or Sony Crackle (figure 2). The remainder of their time is split almost equally among streaming from pay TV services, live TV streaming services, and rental/video on demand."
  • "Voice-enabled digital assistants, such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, could soon change how people engage with media content of all kinds. But not quite yet. Ownership of voice-enabled home digital assistants, or smart speakers, grew 140 percent this year, from 15 percent in 2017 to 36 percent in 2018. The rapid rise of smart speaker ownership is due in part to their low price,8 and to the intuitive way they help people play their favorite music. This connection to music could be why consumers who use digital assistants say they interact with digital assistants more on home devices (42 percent of the time) than they do on smartphones (34 percent of the time)."
  • "Rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are improving virtual assistants’ ability to understand what consumers say and want.12 And a new generation of smartphones is being equipped with dedicated AI chips.13 Finally, the big technology companies are competing hard to be the “voice of the consumer” by making their digital assistant the main way people do everything: play a song, find a movie, buy groceries, and turn down the heat in their homes. While digital assistants are not quite there yet, they may be very soon."
  • "Data concerns. As consumers subscribe to more services, they must dole out financial and personal information. And they are tracked as they view ads. The more “pieces” they use to customize their experience, the more vulnerable they may be to security breaches and loss of privacy. Consumers fear identity theft, financial loss, and the use of sensitive data without their authorization because many have experienced it: Twenty-three percent of US households were victimized by cybercrime in 2018.15 As a result, consumers want to control their data the way they’re controlling their entertainment experience."
  • "Consumers understand that ads are part of the entertainment experience, and most are willing to sit through some ads, especially if they’re getting free content as a trade-off. But too many ads can be painful for customers."
  • "Overall, consumers say they are getting much of what they want but are frustrated by the complexity and effort to get it. They want the ability to customize their media experience with à la carte options while reducing the friction of too many subscriptions to pay for and manage, too many ads, and the looming threat of their data being compromised or misused."
  • "In 2014, the City of New York launched a competition for proposals to replace payphones across the five boroughs with Wi-Fi hubs."
  • "The winner was LinkNYC, which promised to build at least 7,500 kiosks over eight years. Each “Link” would offer gigabit Wi-Fi, domestic calling and access to city services — all for free, underwritten by digital advertising on two 55-inch screens"
  • "Today, about 1,700 kiosks have been installed, featuring city trivia, sports scores, advertisements and now top news headlines from AP updated 24/7."
  • "To learn more about the content strategy behind these digital information hubs and how they engage passersby, we spoke with Amanda Giddon, the senior consumer marketing manager at Intersection, one of the companies behind LinkNYC. "
  • "With the top news headlines, they’re relevant to anyone who cares to engage and pay attention to them. But I think there are opportunities for more targeted execution — for example, showcasing fashion headlines in shopping corridors. We also have what we call “day-parting capabilities” that allow us to play content at strategic times of the day to really increase relevance for consumers and create a high-impact experience on the street. That could mean showing business news during commuting hours. And then we’ve done partnerships that allow us to display historical photos on a Link near the corner where they were originally taken. So people can see that image in the physical context of where it was captured, and I think there’s definitely an opportunity to do that with news."
  • "And then on the tech side, this is a really unique platform that can be responsive and integrate real-time data and trigger content based on environmental conditions. "
  • "“Fake News” Triggers Populist Renaissance in Journalism Regardless of one’s political leanings, one of the disturbing developments of 2016 was the notion that content could be pushed out to readers as “news” even if it had no basis in fact whatsoever. In the closing weeks of the presidential campaign, fake stories—such as the Pope endorsing Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton selling weapons to ISIS—outperformed real news on Facebook® Suddenly, we were all confronted with the scary thought that what is real and what is not real might not matter anymore to readers. Perhaps a populist renaissance in journalism will remind all of us that facts still matter, regardless of the direction they take our news stories and their political implications."
  • "Artificial Intelligence as a Tool for Sharing the News Machine learning is already making a significant impact in various industries but has so far been largely absent from the distribution of news content to audiences. This year, journalists and publishers may well be introduced to this futuristic technology and begin to embrace its power to help them with the process of communicating the news to readers. “2017 is going to provide an interesting opportunity for news organizations, thanks to voice-activated personal home assistants,” predicts Ray Soto, design director of emerging technologies at USA Today Network.3 “These unassuming small internet-connected devices are powered by evolving machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms, built to deliver relevant and credible news catered to an individual’s preferences. Through audio cues, news will become conversational providing a consumer the opportunity to build a personal relationship with a news organization: ‘Good morning. What’s happening in the world today?’”"
  • "Emergence of New Ways to Tell Stories Publishers will continue exploring new ways to connect with their audiences by leveraging emerging platforms for telling stories. Video is just now being leveraged in a more impactful way and brand-new technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) offer enormous possibilities for ways to make journalism and other media content come alive for readers. Asian publishers in particular are already pushing this envelope. “Storytelling through new tools and platforms like video and social content; storytelling through interactions and on-ground engagement with more and more live events; storytelling through new topics and features like sport, health, environment and social issues,” said Yves Bougon, president and CEO of Hearst Fujingaho Co., Ltd.4 For example: last year the New York Times distributed more than 1 million cardboard VR viewers and released an app with video news about displaced refugees; USA TODAY took visitors on a virtual ride around the Universal Studios lot and through Old Havana; and ABC News used VR technology to provide a rare glimpse inside North Korea during a military parade.5"
  • "More Corporate Cash Means More Consolidation It is widely expected that the Trump Administration will work with the Republican-controlled Congress to repatriate cash they’ve parked abroad in recent years as a way to avoid paying comparatively high U.S. corporate tax rates. If this happens, Wall Street observers expect that some of this cash will be put to work in the form of new investments, including more large corporate transactions. “Expect more mega-media deals along the lines of an AT&T/Time Warner, as well as smaller ComcastDreamWorks content stockpiling deals this year,” predicts Eric Jackson, media sector investor and contributor."
  • "Finding the Balance Between Engagement and Clickbait “We’ve known about the business crisis for journalism for years, that’s not news,” says Charlie Beckett, journalism professor at the London School of Economics.7 “But what is hitting home is the failure of digital revenue to compensate for the flow of revenues to platforms. This is coming at a time when more investment is needed for adaption to new ways to connect improved content to consumers.” Publishers are learning that they have no choice but to focus on audience development and engagement in order to compete successfully in a world of digital media in which there are so few barriers to entry. In 2017, experts predict that journalists will be challenged like never before to find an increasingly difficult balance between striking an emotional chord with readers that attracts and engages them… without crossing a blurry line into shameless clickbait that devolves into purely sensationalist content."
  • "The Rise of Philanthropistfunded News Organizations Foundations and major philanthropists have long talked about the virtue of freedom of the press, the importance of the “Fourth Estate” to a free society and the concept of having news organizations in the U.S. that could be independent of commercial worries. Few, however, have stepped up to the plate and started writing checks. In 2017, that may begin to change, as we see foundations provide operating support to newsrooms that can generate important community-based journalism. “In the swirl of confusion and fear about fake news, echo chambers, and threats to press freedom, funders are now grasping the consequences to our communities when there are no journalists covering city council meetings or providing substantive statehouse reporting to keep elected officials accountable,” writes Molly de Aguiar, the program director for informed communities at the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.8 “Foundations are waking up to the reality that this… will likely impact the issue areas they support, and that they can’t achieve their long-term objectives as long as the public is starved for relevant, reliable information about those issues.”"
  • "Doses of Real Journalism Vaccine We live in a challenging time: many readers consider facts to be negotiable things, other readers appear to stand in opposition to the basic tenets of journalism, and most of them don’t have a high degree of trust in the media industry in general. “We need to vaccinate the public with real journalism: explaining in detail how we come to a conclusion, how facts are gathered, what should be considered a fact and why—how journalism works,” says Ole Reissmann, founder and managing editor of bento, a publication of Der Spiegel.9"
  • " ‘Fake news’ fuels a revival of investigative journalism. ‘Fake news’ was on our trend list last year for a different reason. The term ‘fake news’ was bandied about liberally in 2017—so much so that it earned the ignoble honor as “the second most annoying phrase” in a Marist poll conducted late last year.2 But recent headlines regarding deliberate efforts to influence the U.S. presidential election by spreading fake news across social media platforms have moved the term past annoying to worrying—and newspapers are proving that solid investigative journalism trumps fake news."
  • "Social media ramps up transparency and content moderation. I Investigative journalism isn’t the only area that has been influenced by the prevalence of fake news. Calling fake news an “existential crisis for social media,” TechCrunch notes that the tech companies running these platforms are coming to grips with their own role in the spread of false or misleading information."
  • " Artificial Intelligence (AI) empowers the newsroom. Last year, AI made our trend list too, but the focus was on using data to support news delivery based on individual user preferences for discovering and consuming news stories. This year, the focus is on how AI is being used to support journalism. Tech Emergence identifies several ways that artificial intelligence is proving a boon for newsrooms. From streamlining workflows and automating traditional tasks like tracking breaking news to using analytics to makes sense of vast amounts of data or detect fake news sooner, AI enables journalists to focus on reporting. "
  • "Live streaming gains momentum. New ways to tell stories hit our list last year, and it’s back—but this time the focus is on live streaming. Christy Laurence, founder of Plann and ‘Australasian Startup Founder of the Year,’ anticipates a surge in live streaming thanks to always‑advancing technology. Already, live streaming has featured prominently in two major news stories from mid‑February. BuzzFeed News recently reported that Twitter® began live streaming local news broadcasts alongside breaking news timelines, a new initiative that was called into action when news broke about the recent Broward County school shooting.9 The same week, the New York Times reported a multi‑million dollar award to “... the family of a woman who was fatally shot by the police in 2016 after a standoff that had been partly broadcast on Instagram.”1 Smartphones put enormous power in the hands of everyday people, and 2018 is poised to be a year where citizen journalists stream news as it happens more often. "
  • "End of net neutrality spurs consolidation. The FCC decision to repeal its net neutrality policy has far‑reaching implications. According to a post on the University of Chicago’s Pro‑Market Blog, it could easily result in more consolidation as broadband providers maneuver for position in “... a massive ‘arms race’ by providers to vertically integrate and to discriminate against unaffiliated services.”11 History seems to support that theory because, as the post points out, cable industry deregulation led to consolidation until it was reversed by Congress eight years later."
  • " Millennials make their mark But Millennials are more than digital consumers; they are now the largest workforce generation in the U.S., and as such, media organizations will need to adopt more than the content and channels they use. Bonita Burton, executive editor for Villages Daily Sun, says that despite having an audience made up of retirees, Millennials are a top of mind consideration. She suggests appealing to Millennials desire to make a difference can be a game changer in journalism. “Attracting and nurturing young talent means providing them with a sense of purpose, not trying to win the perks war. Give them ways to grow and make a difference, and they will respond with an energetic engagement that can rocket‑fuel your newsroom’s ambition level,” notes Burton."
  • "Subscription and membership is the key priority for the news industry going forward. Over half (52%) expect this to be the MAIN revenue focus in 2019, compared with just 27% for display advertising, 8% for native advertising and 7% for donations. This is a huge change of focus for the industry."
  • "At the same time, there seems to be a growing acceptance that some types of quality news provision might need to be subsidised. Almost a third (29%) expect to see significant help this year from foundations and non-profits, a fifth (18%) expect tech platforms to contribute more, while one in ten (11%) think governments will provide more support. A further 29% of publisher respondents is not expecting any of the above to ride to their rescue."
  • "The news industry is losing patience with Facebook and publishers are re-focusing attention elsewhere. Less than half of respondents (43%) say the platform is likely to be important or extremely important this year, a similar number to Apple News and YouTube – but far less than for Google (87%)"
  • "Almost two thirds (61%) are concerned or extremely concerned about staff burnout. Retaining (73%) and attracting (74%) staff is a particular headache, given the low rates of pay, relentless pace and pressures of a modern newsroom. Over half (56%) are concerned about levels of newsroom diversity. "
  • "Over three-quarters (78%) think it is important to invest more in Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help secure the future of journalism – but not as an alternative to employing more editors. Most see increased personalisation as a critical pathway to the future (73%)."
  • "With many publishers launching new daily news podcasts, it is perhaps not surprising that the majority (75%) think that audio will become a more important part of their content THE REUTERS INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF JOURNALISM and commercial strategies. A similar proportion (78%) think that emerging voice-activated technologies, like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, will have a significant impact on how audiences access content over the next few years."
  • "Platforms step up their battle against misinformation and disinformation but the problem shifts this year to closed networks and community groups, where it is harder to track and control. We’ll see a renewed focus on trust indicators for news and better labeling designed to help consumers decide what and who to trust. With consumers increasingly conscious of the time they are wasting online, we’ll see more people leaving social networks, more tools for digital detox, and more focus on ‘meaningful’ content. Slow news becomes a theme with the launch of new journalistic enterprises like Tortoise (UK) and the Dutch De Correspondent expanding to the US. These are billed as an antidote to the current glut of quick, shallow, and reactive coverage. But how many will join – and pay? The rise of paywalls is shutting more people off from quality news and making the internet harder to navigate. Consumer irritation will build this year, leading to a combination of more news avoidance and the adoption of ‘paywall-blocking’ software"
  • "Fake news or alternative facts—depending more on a person’s point of view rather than actual reality—wormed its way into our collective psyche over the course of 2016 and 2017. "
  • "According to a 2016 Pew Research Center study, the percentage of people who report ‘a lot’ or ‘some’ trust varies by media source: Local news organizations fared the best with an 82 percent combined score (22% ‘a lot’/60%‘some’) National news organizations received a 76 percent combined score (18%/59%) Friends, family and acquaintances received a 77 percent combined score (14%/63%) Social media received a 34 percent combined score (4%/30%)"
  • "A November 2016 article on the FiveThirtyEight blog noted that the first Gallup poll questioning Americans about their trust of newspapers took place in 1973. At that time—several months into the Watergate scandal, 39 percent of respondents reported having a ‘great deal of trust’ in newspapers. But tenacious investigative reporting led to the unfathomable—President Nixon’s resignation in advance of his inevitable impeachment—and by 1979, Americans’ trust in newspapers climbed to 51 percent. The articles notes, “The numbers have mostly slide since then, and in 2016, only 20 percent of Americans said they trust newspapers.” Television news followed a similar path. "
  • "Last year, the Gallup poll found trust in newspapers had gained seven percentage points and trust in television news gained three. The catalyst could be the increasing number of credible, thoroughly-investigated stories that dominated headlines throughout 2017. "