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The sustainability of professionalism in print journalism in the 21st century essay

What Is Happening to Television News? We map recent changes in traditional television viewing, the rise of online video, and a range of examples of how different organisations are working with new forms of television-like news developed for a digital environment. We show how recent years have seen significant declines in traditional television viewing in technologically developed markets, and a rapid rise in online video viewing driven by video-sharing sites, video-on-demand services, and the integration of video into social media sites.

Television is still an important medium, and will remain so for years to come, but it will not be the dominant force it was in the second half of the twentieth century. The average audience of many television news programmes is by now older than the average audience of many print newspapers. The decline in viewing among younger people is far more pronounced both for television viewing in general and for television news specifically, meaning that the loyalty and habits of older viewers prop up overall viewing figures and risk obscuring the fact that television news is rapidly losing touch with much of the population.

  1. The situation that legacy broadcasters face online today is thus in some ways quite similar to that faced by newspapers in the early 2000s. People do not necessarily watch much video on these devices yet , and may never watch as much video on any one of these many other screens as they do on a television set with a good screen, good sound, and a central place in the home — but the proliferation of video-enabled devices suggests where new opportunities lie in the future.
  2. Not setting aside significant resources for experimenting with new formats and forms of distribution is effectively a decision to not prepare for the digital future. Legacy media with a print background seeking to develop video as part of their digital strategy, including brands as different as The New York Times, Vice, and The Daily Telegraph, as well as brands like Die Welt and Spiegel in Germany — both of which have incorporated more traditional television elements N24 and Spiegel TV.
  3. By now, desktop and mobile internet use account for over half of all time spent using media in some technologically advanced markets, more time than television Meeker 2015. We know traditional television is important but eroding.
  4. A range of other players including brands as different as Vice and The New York Times have prioritised longer-form, rich, sometimes interactive video content in an attempt to stand out in a very competitive marketplace for attention. They are developing superior technologies both at the back end and at the interface with users and they are building global scale in a way no legacy media organisation has been able to do.
  5. Our main focus is on what is happening in technologically developed markets like the UK and the US, but we also examine trends elsewhere. Television is still an important medium, and will remain so for years to come, but it will not be the dominant force it was in the second half of the twentieth century.

There are no reasons to believe that a generation that has grown up with and enjoys digital, on-demand, social, and mobile video viewing across a range of connected devices will come to prefer live, linear, scheduled programming tied to a single device just because they grow older. This raises wider questions about how sustainable the broad public interest role broadcast news has played in many countries over the last 60 years is.

Executive Summary

Television news is still a widely used and important source of news, and will remain so for many older people for years to come, but if television news providers do not react to the decline in traditional television viewing and the rise of online video — in particular on-demand, distributed, and mobile viewing — they risk irrelevance.

The full implications of the changes we identify here will not be felt immediately, as current viewers will continue to watch for years to come.

  1. Second, we consider the rise of online video. The full implications of the changes we identify here will not be felt immediately, as current viewers will continue to watch for years to come.
  2. If television news providers do not adapt to these changes, they risk irrelevance. How do you differentiate in a world of abundant digital content?
  3. The situation that legacy broadcasters face online today is thus in some ways quite similar to that faced by newspapers in the early 2000s.

But the challenge needs to be recognised now and acted on if television news providers want to reinvent themselves and find an audience that increasingly prefers digital media to television, and increasingly embraces on-demand, distributed, and mobile video distributed online.

Many different kinds of news organisations, including legacy broadcasters, print legacy media, and a range of digital pure players, are experimenting with different kinds of television-like and online video news to reach audiences, especially younger people. We review some of what they are trying to do below and show how a limited number of new players, most notably video-on-demand providers like Netflix and Amazon Prime, and platforms like Facebook and YouTube, are currently leading the move towards a video-enabled internet and that, while there are impressive experiments with long-form, in-depth content, shorter clips, and various modes of distribution, no one seems to have found the right recipe for online video news or IPTV news.

None of the platforms and on-demand services that dominate online video focus on news. The fact that no one has found the right recipe for doing online video news in this rapidly changing environment takes nothing away from the urgency of adapting to it.

Television as a platform may well be about to face disruption on a scale comparable to what printed newspapers have experienced over the last decade. Television news providers face this transition with many strengths, including well-known brands, creative talent, and deep archives of quality content, but they also risk being constrained by their legacy organisation and culture. Television news providers who wish to reach younger audiences, adapt to this changing environment, and remain relevant will therefore need to continue to invest in innovation and experimentation, and can learn much from established insights into organisational traits that enable innovation in digital news.

A Golden Age of Television, but not of Television News We live in a golden age of television, but not of television news.

For younger people, beyond-the-box video accounts for half of all viewing in technologically advanced markets like the UK and the US Meeker 2015. While major television channels are still pulling in large audiences, these audiences are eroding and ageing while a range of new entrants seek to pick up younger audiences who continue to turn away from traditional television news and embrace digital media.

This development is a major challenge for television journalism. It challenges the role television news has played over the last half century in many countries as the most used, most valued, and most widely shared source of news see e.

Barnett 2011, Cushion 2011. It challenges the business models underwriting commercial television news. It also challenges the ability of public service television news to deliver on its mission, as well as its long-term political and popular legitimacy. The full implications of the decline of traditional television viewing and the rise of online video will not be felt immediately, as current viewers will continue to watch for years to come.

  • Given the incentives to serve existing users, the challenging business of digital media, and the uncertainties involved in trying to navigate a rapidly changing environment, this is understandable;
  • Storytelling has to change — it has to be short, visual, timely, and hyper-relevant;
  • The full implications of the decline of traditional television viewing and the rise of online video will not be felt immediately, as current viewers will continue to watch for years to come;
  • The longer-form video packages that work therefore have to add value — by being emotionally compelling, providing background, novelty, and an explanation or an angle — and should normally be something which will still be appreciated 24 hours later and beyond;
  • Many different kinds of news organisations, including legacy broadcasters, print legacy media, and a range of digital pure players, are experimenting with different kinds of television-like and online video news to reach audiences, especially younger people.

But the challenge needs to be recognised now and acted on if television news providers want to reinvent themselves and find an audience that increasingly prefers on-demand, distributed, and mobile video see the back of the report for a list of terms.

Television news as we know it, from evening bulletins to 24-hour news channels, increasingly serves the past, not the future, and television news producers have to experiment with new formats and forms of distribution if they wish to remain relevant.

Traditional television viewing is still strong, but no longer as stable as it once was. While we should not overestimate the immediate short-term impact, it is clear that the longer-term effect over a five-to-ten-year horizon will be dramatic. This concerns television generally, but also television news specifically. As traditional television viewing overall erodes, television news will benefit less from lead-in programming and will see its own audience shrink faster, and television news providers will have to develop new offers and new strategies.

In many of the most technologically advanced markets, traditional television viewing has begun to erode, and online video consumption is increasing. The rise of the video-enabled internet puts television and digital media in much more direct competition. As connectivity, devices, and file compression formats improve, this competition will become more intense.

What Is Happening to Television News?

The question is who will benefit from this development — legacy broadcasters, other legacy media, new online video start-ups, video-on-demand services, or third-party platform providers like Facebook and YouTube — and what role specifically will news find in this changing environment?

Given the accelerating shift away from television and towards an environment where traditional television remains important, but digital media grow ever more important, it is clear that the future of television news is about much more than television.

It is at least as much about whether and how television news providers benefit from the rise of on-demand, distributed, and mobile video viewing on digital platforms.

And will television news broadcasters continue to play the core role in informing a broad base of society that they have played for much of the last half century? Television news will continue to reach millions of people for years to come via evening bulletins and 24-hour news channels. But to remain relevant and reach a younger audience, television news providers also have to embrace a whole new range of digital platforms and experiment with on-demand, distributed, and mobile video news.

Overview of the Report In this report, we analyse what is happening to television news. Our main focus is on what is happening in technologically developed markets like the UK and the US, but we also examine trends elsewhere.

First, we map recent changes in traditional television viewing. Second, we consider the rise of online video. Third, we examine examples of how different organisations are working with new forms of television-like news developed for a digital environment.

We go into some detail in providing an overview of how television more broadly is changing and online video growing because these two trends help define the environment in which television news providers operate.

We focus on new experiments with television-like and video news online in the third part of the report because we are interested in innovative approaches to adapting to a new environment rather than the incremental evolution of traditional formats.

We show how a limited number of new players, most notably video-on-demand providers like Netflix and Amazon Prime and platforms like Facebook and YouTube, are currently leading the move towards a video-enabled internet and that, while there are impressive experiments with both long-form in-depth content, shorter clips, and various modes of distribution, no one seems to have found the right recipe for online video news or IPTV news. What is clear is that the right recipes are unlikely to be the same recipes that worked for news bulletins or 24-hour news channels and that news organisations need to break with much of the broadcast legacy and continue to experiment with both editorial products and distribution strategies to make online video news work.

Television news is changing as traditional formats evolve, with evening news bulletins seeking ways to add value though much of their audience already know the major headlines, and 24-hour news channels seeking ways of balancing their desire to break news in an accelerated cycle with the challenge of getting complicated stories right in real time.

But television news is also changing in a wider sense as people increasingly move away from these traditional formats and incorporate new kinds of online video news in their media repertoires. If television news providers do not adapt to these changes, they risk irrelevance.

The Erosion of Traditional Television Viewing Despite the rise of digital media, traditional television viewing held up well for the last twenty years. Measured as viewing of live, linear, scheduled programming, overall television consumption remained stable — and in some cases grew — throughout the 1990s and 2000s, even as digital technologies disrupted other media industries and as desktop internet and later the mobile web came to account for a larger and larger share of overall media use.

In recent years, however, time spent watching television has started to erode, in some countries dramatically so. Digital media use is increasingly not simply supplementing, but also supplanting, television viewing. Second screens are becoming first screens. By now, desktop and mobile internet use account for over half of all time spent using media in some technologically advanced markets, more time than television Meeker 2015. In countries with a significantly older population, like Germany, overall viewing figures have been more stable, but younger people are still moving away from television and towards digital media.

These declines are directly comparable to the declines in print newspaper circulation in the 2000s.

  • But the challenge needs to be recognised now and acted on if television news providers want to reinvent themselves and find an audience that increasingly prefers digital media to television, and increasingly embraces on-demand, distributed, and mobile video distributed online;
  • The decline in viewing among younger people is far more pronounced both for television viewing in general and for television news specifically, meaning that the loyalty and habits of older viewers prop up overall viewing figures and risk obscuring the fact that television news is rapidly losing touch with much of the population;
  • Live Streaming News Those attempting to build an audience for live streaming have had a mixed experience;
  • Whereas legacy players often have strong brands, in-house creative talent, and audience loyalties and habits built over decades especially in terms of offline media use , a few dominant new players, all of them coming out of the United States, are building an advantage in terms of ability to invest, in terms of technology talent and in terms of data about their audiences;
  • Even in countries like France and Germany, where television is the most important source of news for the population overall, online is far more important for younger people.

Audience share — the percentage of people viewing who are viewing a particular programme — may hold up for some channels and programmes, but the total audience that this is a share of is eroding, ageing, and spending less time watching television. In recent years, the average age of the BBC1 audience has grown by more than one year every year, from 52 in 2009 to 59 in 2014. Television News Viewing Even looking solely at traditional television, news, especially catch-all evening news bulletins, continues to suffer from the underlying and decades-long move away from a few dominant channels and towards a more fragmented multichannel environment Prior 2007.

By 2014, the average number of hours of television news watched in the course of the year was down to 108 for all adults. For people aged 16—24, the number was 25 hours. The figures for younger viewers have declined every year since 2010, while those for viewers over 55 have remained more stable. The loyalty and habits of older viewers prop up overall viewing figures and risk obscuring the fact that television news is rapidly losing touch with younger people.

Overall viewership of some television news programmes is now declining about as fast as the readership of print newspapers. Some programmes have held up relatively well, but many have not. The remaining audience is also, like print readers, increasingly older than the population at large. Even in countries like France and Germany, where television is the most important source of news for the population overall, online is far more important for younger people.

In the UK and the US, online is the most important source of news for every age group under 44 Newman et al 2015. Proportion within each age group who said each source was their main source of news UK Figure 1. Proportion within each age group who said each source was their main source of news Germany There are thus no reasons to believe that a generation that has grown up with and enjoys digital, on-demand, social, and mobile video viewing across a range of connected devices will come to prefer live, linear, scheduled programming tied to a single device just because they grow older.

A combination of two powerful factors point to a long-term move from traditional television towards digital media, including various forms of online video. First, the continued technological development of better devices, connections, and file compression formats. Second, the generational replacement of older, pre-digital generations with younger generations who have grown up with digital media and prefer them.

But social media and messaging apps moved aggressively into video distribution in the course of 2015 and increasingly prioritise video. Small screens, often used vertically and in silent mode and thus offering a very different interface and user experience from a large horizontal television screen with the sound on, account for a larger and larger share of video-enabled devices and time spent viewing.

And it is not only that mobile is increasingly central to video. Video is also the sustainability of professionalism in print journalism in the 21st century essay central to mobile. In 2015, Cisco estimated that mobile video grew to account for more than half of all mobile data traffic. Television beyond the Box The rise of on-demand, distributed, and mobile viewing points towards an environment in which video is used very differently.

Linear scheduled television continues to be an important part of this digital environment, but only one part, and is no longer the dominant platform it was for much of the twentieth century. People do not necessarily watch much video on these devices yetand may never watch as much video on any one of these many other screens as they do on a television set with a good screen, good sound, and a central place in the home — but the proliferation of video-enabled devices suggests where new opportunities lie in the future.

Introduction: A Golden Age of Television, but not of Television News

Global install base of video players 2014 And this is not only about potential and about the future. Since 2013, some estimate, digital devices have accounted for more than half of all time spent on screens in the US. This is a transformative change in just five years. Hours per day spent on screens by orientation US There is still considerable growth potential for digital video, unlike traditional television viewing, which is expected to continue to erode for the reasons discussed above.

In relation to both devices, connectivity and content quality deterring some, Ofcom estimates that only about two thirds of those in the UK who own personal computers and smartphones regularly use them for video at this stage. Broadcasters Are Unlikely To Be the most Important Players in Online Video The most important players in this new online video environment are not legacy broadcasters, but newer video-on-demand providers like Netflix and Amazon Prime and platforms like YouTube and Facebook.

Whereas legacy players often have strong brands, in-house creative talent, and audience loyalties and habits built over decades especially in terms of offline media usea few dominant new players, all of them coming out of the United States, are building an advantage in terms of ability to invest, in terms of technology talent and in terms of data about their audiences.

They are developing superior technologies both at the back end and at the interface with users and they are building global scale in a way no legacy media organisation has been able to do. Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, and Google all operate in more countries than even the biggest international broadcasters. They are not invincible — several of them have made multiple attempts to break into the large and lucrative television market, for some with only limited success.

But even when they fail, they are not giving up, and they will continue to experiment and invest in video. In contrast to traditional media organisations with newsrooms, distribution strategies, and cost structures built around older media and serving older audiences, the newer players are fully committed to digital media.