Pew Research Center issues an annual assessment of the state of the news media, and has done so since 2004. Here is some key information from the 2018 state of the industry:
• U.S. newspaper circulation has reached its lowest point since 1940, the first year with available data. Total daily newspaper circulation (print and digital together) was an approximated 28.6 million for weekday and 30.8 million for Sunday in 2018, according to Pew. Those figure dropped 8 percent and 9 percent, respectively, from the year before, according to Pew’s breakdown of Alliance for Audited Media data.
• Digital circulation for daily papers was up in 2018, though not sufficiently to turn around the fall in circulation.
• Ad revenue for newspapers was down 13 percent, according to an analysis of Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Circulation revenue was steady in 2018.
• Revenue was up 4 percent over the year for Fox News, CNN and MSNBC combined, say estimates from media research group Kagan.
• Digital ad revenue has grown substantially, with most landing in Facebook’s and Google’s pockets. Revenue from ads put on all digital platforms was up by 23 percent last year, and currently represents 49 percent of all ad revenue in the country, say eMarketer estimates.
• Traffic to news websites seems to have plateaued. The number of unique visitors to the sites of newspaper and digital-native news sites got no bigger between the fourth quarters of 2017 and 2018, the second year in which there was no notable growth, according to Comscore.