Share: Local TV News Fact Sheet

By | June 15, 2016

Some top line highlights:

Audience: Viewership data collected by Nielsen Media Research shows that in 2015 network affiliate news stations (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC) lost viewership in every key timeslot – morning, early evening and late night.

Economics: Local TV station revenue typically follows a cyclical pattern of increasing in election years and decreasing in non-election years. True to this pattern, in 2015 total local TV over-the-air advertising revenue declined 7% from election year 2014, according to BIA/Kelsey, amounting to $18.6 billion. However, revenue was roughly on par with the last non-election year in 2013.

Total online revenues for local TV stations increased 12% in 2015 (a total of $900 million) and by 2020 are expected to grow substantially to about $1.6 billion. However, they still account for a tiny portion of the total ad revenues – an estimate of just 5% in 2015, and this share is not expected to grow much over the next five years… (RTDNA survey) responses from news directors across the country indicate that about half of the revenue is generated during news programming.

News Production: The average amount of weekday local TV news programming held steady in 2014. According to the RTDNA survey of news directors, stations aired 5.3 hours of news programming per weekday on average in 2014 – about the same as in 2013. The last year news programming hours increased was 2011.

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