State of the Media: Q2 2014
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Each quarter showcases new advances in the media industry’s propensity for experimentation, and also says goodbye to old practices. Here’s a look at the media industry in the second quarter:
In the second quarter of 2014, 12 newspapers folded, including two dailies: the Silver City Press & Independent in New Mexico and the Daily Southerner in North Carolina. A third daily was also lost when the struggling Freedom Communications merged the Long Beach Register into the Los Angeles Register, a daily they launched in the last quarter. In terms of online outlets, The Bourbon County Review and Pegasus News both also folded. There were six launches, including Bizwoman and Trumbull’s HamletHub, both online outlets. Noticeably, news of Patch.com did not dominate the quarter. Patch had no launches or folds and has been quiet since AOL sold the hyperlocal network earlier this year to Hale Global, a New York investment firm.
In addition, the Orange County Register, which had nearly doubled its newsroom since Aaron Kushner and Eric Spitz purchased it almost two years ago, has been faltering. In the last couple of months, mandatory furloughs and layoffs were announced, while the Long Beach Register, which only launched last July, was lost when it was merged into the Los Angeles Register. David Coates, the managing editor of newspaper content for Vocus Media Research Group, noted that salient events this quarter included The New York Times’ decision to shut down several of its blogs. “At its peak, the Times had about 60 blogs, but now that number has been cut in half with the merging of several blogs, and it is expected to be thinned even further,” he said. Additionally, The Wall Street Journal is expected to make cuts to the newsroom, with veteran editors and reporters expected to be laid off.
There were a total of 17 magazine launches, with 10 in print and seven online. Print launches include Craft Beer & Brewing, Barbecue America and San Francisco Cottages & Gardens. Online launches included Yahoo! Beauty, Yahoo! Travel, Yahoo! Movies and the glamour site Lipstick. Additionally, there were 19 magazines that folded in Q2, including Official Xbox Magazine and Tastebud Magazine in print, as well as several automobile magazines. Of the 19 folded publications, 12 were magazines merged by Source Interlink Media when it rebranded itself as The Enthusiast Network. This included the loss of Popular Hot Rodding, Rod & Custom, 5.0 Mustang and Honda Tuning, among others. There were also four online closures, including DailyCandy, DailyCandy Weddings, DailyCandy Kids and Armed Forces Journal. Two well-known magazines also saw the end of their print counterparts when Jet magazine and Computerworld went online-only.
There were several developments of note within the television industry in Q2, including a number of new newscasts on Tribune-owned stations. “Two 11 p.m. newscasts were launched in June, and many more are to come in the upcoming quarter as a result of the programming hole created when Arsenio Hall’s late-night show was not renewed for a second season,” said Julie Holley, the managing editor of television content at Vocus Media Research Group. Meanwhile, Gannett announced their acquisition of six television stations in Texas from London Broadcasting Company. The group of stations consists of KCEN-TV (NBC), KYTX-TV (CBS), KIII-TV (ABC), KBMT-TV (ABC) and digital sub-channel KJAC-TV (NBC), KXVA-TV (Fox), and KIDY-TV (Fox).
Also of note: the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the streaming service Aereo violated copyright law for broadcast television programming by providing customers with online access to content from their local TV stations, said Holley. Aereo has since suspended operation.
According to Kyle Johnson, the managing editor of radio content for Vocus Media Research Group, traditional radio continues to thrive despite the increased competition from the Internet, streaming audio and other digital sources. In the second quarter, Nielsen released a report that found that national radio listening had reached a high, with more than 244 million Americans ages 12 and older tuning in each week. Additionally, the report showed that African-American and Hispanic listeners are nearly a third of radio’s audience.
However, there has been a drop in the amount of radio news being offered by stations, Johnson noted. “A survey by the Radio Television Digital News Association found a drop of 10 minutes for weekday radio news compared to last year. Overall, about 70 percent of radio stations run news, a drop of more than 7 percent from the previous year,” said Johnson.
Meanwhile, streaming services continue to grow, such as iHeartRadio, which launched the iHeartRadio Hispanic network, providing Spanish-speaking listeners with content from some of Mexico’s top stations, as well as some stations in the U.S. “Yet, radio continues to thrive,” said Johnson.
Despite a number of cuts and layoffs this quarter, the media industry is not necessarily in decline. Rather, the industry continues to fluctuate, rising and falling with the tide of the media’s changing platforms and innovations.
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