U.S. online mass media industry - Statistics & Facts

Over the past decade, the term “digital disruption” has been frequently used to describe the way that improving technology has damaged the traditional business models of many industries. The mass media market is no exception; consumers are demanding constant, on-the-go access to content, and providers are being forced to change the way in which they conduct their business.

A great example of this “digital disruption” concept can be seen in the Television industry. An ever increasing portion of TV households are doing away with traditional TV subscriptions in favor of streaming services. As of 2017, only 35 percent of adults said that they watch TV programs or films at the time of broadcast on paid channels, showing just how far traditional TV has fallen. In stark contrast, 77 percent of consumers reported to have streamed a show or movie at some time within the last month. Ten years ago, renting a movie or TV series meant visiting the local video store, or having a DVD delivered to one’s door. Nowadays, hundreds of movies and series can be accessed directly through online subscription services such as Hulu and Netflix

Radio has experienced a similar evolution to television with an increasing emphasis on online consumption and on-the-go listening. This has led to the meteoric rise of online radio companies such as Pandora and Spotify. As of early 2018, 57 percent of the U.S. population listened to online radio. As a relatively new technology, online radio is most popular among the younger generations, with the technology reaching 88 percent of Americans aged 12-24 monthly, a figure which falls to 33 percent amongst those aged 55 and older. The weekly time spent listening to online radio has also more than doubled between 2009 and 2018. However, over-the-air revenue still remains the largest segment for radio stations in the United States, generating nearly 14 billion U.S. dollars of revenue in 2017.

In the age of online mass media, traditional forms of media such as newspapers and magazines have been forced to adapt. While print newspapers still make up the largest share of newspaper publishing revenue, the revenue generated from online newspapers tripled between 2010 and 2016 and is only expected to continue its growth. Publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post have been quick to establish significant digital-only subscriber bases, a move which insure that they can stay relevant in this new, digital age. Magazine media tells a similar story, with over 34 percent of the magazine audience in 2017 coming from mobile web and digital magazines reaching an estimated 42 percent of the American population monthly in 2018. Some of the most popular magazine brands with an online presence include ESPN The Magazine, Forbes, and WebMD Magazine.

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