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Digital is Here to Stay

In 2013 most Americans got their news and information in some form of digital media, according to the Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project State of the News Media 2014. The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world

According to the 2014 report, 82% of Americans said they got news on a desktop or laptop and 54% said they got news on a mobile device. 35% reported that they get news in this way “frequently” on their desktop or laptop, and 21% on a mobile device.

Uniquely digital sites are still a small part of the publishing industry, but the digital audience is continuing to eat into the readership figures of the legacy (print) news organizations.

News magazines continue to face a difficult print advertising environment. Ad pages sold across the publishing industry continue to decrease, with revenue from strictly digital sources not yet taking up the slack, but the numbers are on an upward trajectory. Total digital ad spending rose to $42.6 billion in 2013, a 15.7% increase over 2012.

Tablet pc showing magazine on screen with a cup of coffee on a d

An interesting development that is becoming increasingly apparent is the explosion in “content marketing” (also known as native advertising) as a revenue stream. The creation of targeted editorial content paid for by advertisers which is hardly distinguishable from hard news is an interesting development, but care has to be taken to maintain the integrity of the finished product in order for the journalism to be credible. eMarketer predicts that native ads spending will reach $2.85 billion by 2014. One unfortunate byproduct of catering to and tailoring information to a particular audience is the risk that this model narrows the kinds of information that consumers are exposed to.