Newspapers continue to struggle as an industry, but cable news also saw a significant decline. Combined median prime-time viewership for CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC was down 8% in 2014, according to Nielsen Media Research. Despite the audience drop, revenues were up 4%, according to SNL Kagan. Meanwhile, newspapers saw circulation decline by 3%, according to our analysis of Alliance for Audited Media data, and a BIA/Kelsey estimate showed advertising revenue was down 4%. Ad revenue is now less than half of what it was a decade ago and daily circulation is down 19% over that same period.
Things are looking up for network and local television. The audience for evening network news broadcasts is up 5% from 2013 to 2014, according to Nielsen Media Research data. Early evening and morning local news viewership also is up for the second year in a row, while ad revenue was up 7% in 2014 to nearly $20 billion. Revenue for 2014 even rose when compared with 2010, the ad-rich last midterm election year, by 2%. The amount of ad revenue received in 2014 is roughly equal for local TV and for newspapers. (Both are estimates from BIA/Kelsey.)