Print media is dying, suffering another year of circulation and revenue drops and staff firings, and while the digital audience is surging, readers apparently don't spend much time surfing print sites, according to the Pew Research Center.
In its "State of the News Media 2015," a lengthy survey of print, digital and TV news media, Pew's numbers portrayed the print side in freefall. Consider:
-- Newspaper circulation dropped 3.3 percent, the worst in the last four years.
— Newspaper revenue dropped to $16.4 billion, a ninth straight yearly decline. Revenue is now one-third of what it was just 10 years ago.
— At 37,000, newspaper staffing is at a 34-year low and female employment the lowest recorded by Pew, at 13,657. Minorities are an even tinier 4,900.
— News magazine circulation is down 2.2 percent and the all-important single sales has plummeted 14 percent.
— All of the major news magazines have seen ad pages drop at least in half since 2001.
Most outlets have turned to digital as the savior and digital customers far outpace those who subscribe to print products.
But Pew found that while people are willing to pay $20 or so a month for digital newspaper subscriptions, such as the New York Times, they don't stay on the sites long, drawing into question the purpose and need for long stories and fat staffs.
Pew calls mobile readers "flybys."
From the key paragraph below pulled from the Pew newspaper "fact sheet," for example, is the sentence that New York Times readers spend just 4.6 minutes on the site, about the time to read three to four stories.
"For these largest newspapers, their digital audience numbers far outpace circulation: The New York Times reported an average weekday print circulation of less than 650,000 in September 2014. But their website and associated apps attracted nearly 54 million unique visitors in January 2015, and the majority of their paid circulation comes from digital sources (about 1.4 million). Yet far more people report reading a newspaper in print than on a digital device. Why this discrepancy? One clue lies in the time spent. The average visit to The New York Times' website and associated apps in January 2015 lasted only 4.6 minutes – and this was the highest of the top 25. Thus, most online newspaper visitors are "flybys," arriving perhaps through a link on a social networking site or sent in an email, and so may not think of this experience as "reading a newspaper" but simply browsing an article online."
While print is dying, Pew found life in TV, especially network TV news where viewership and revenue are up.