Changing Channels: The Evolving Face of Media in the Southeast

Volume 16, Number 1
January–April 2014

iPad TouchNew technologies have given consumers a seemingly endless stream of content and new ways to consume it. Indeed, "while consumers are the obvious winners in this new media environment, its fluid landscape has resulted in tremendous uncertainty for those whose livelihoods are linked to communication, from journalists to retailers to advertisers and students," wrote staff writer Ed English in the latest issue of EconSouth.

Television, radio audiences still tuning in
Radio and television consumption has fared relatively well in the face of new media challengers, according to 2014 data from Neilson. Indeed, the average U.S. consumer spends nearly 20 percent of the day watching programming, whether through live TV, DVR, or streaming, he noted.

Meanwhile, the radio industry is still trying to recover from the 2007–09 recession, which significantly dented advertising revenues. Despite some somewhat disappointing revenues, radio has continued to enjoy a healthy audience of 292 million, with listeners tuning in for more than two and a half hours daily, according to Nielson. In the Southeast's major urban markets, radio audiences have declined somewhat but remain relatively stable, English noted.

Newspapers, on the other hand, haven't fared as well. Online readership of the major southeastern metro newspapers has failed to offset waning demand for print publications. Some papers, such as the New Orleans Times-Picayune have responded by reducing their publication frequency. Meanwhile, a bifurcated trend is playing out in the magazine industry. Newsmagazines like Time and Newsweek are grappling with declining circulation, while niche magazines—think Runner's World and Cigar Aficionado­—are contributing to industry stability.

English also explored the implications of the changing media landscape for industry revenues and jobs. Perhaps it's no surprise that newspapers have suffered the most losses. A Pew Research Center study noted a 30 percent decline from 2000 to 2012 in employment at newspapers. English's article also discusses the areas where communications jobs are growing and how new communications graduates are faring in the job market.

To learn more, read the full article in EconSouth, available in print or online.