LOCAL BROADCAST TV CONTINUES TO INCREASE NEWS CONTENT
Americans consistently list local television news stations as their main source of information for news and information impacting their communities. To meet the need for information about what is happening in their communities, local TV stations are stepping up by increasing the number of hours of local news on the air. Whether it is breaking news about changes in local covid regulations, critical weather updates, or any other issues which may impact their areas, local TV stations continue to serve their communities.
A Katz analysis of local news during the November 2021 sweep of 209 markets (including the 4-major affiliates that carry local news, M-F, total day), shows an overall increase of +4.9%. From 17.6 hours per day/per market in Nov'20 to 18.5 hours in Nov'21 - almost an additional hour of local news every day.
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Note: only fully reportable, non-spill-in stations (based on NSI) are included in totals.
By market size, larger markets produce more local news content daily, but smaller markets generated a greater percentage increase in local news in Nov'21.
- Top 50 markets are now airing almost 28 hours of news per weekday, a +3.5% increase over last Nov'20.
- Top 100 have 24 total hours of local news per weekday (+3.8%)
- Market 100+ air over 13 hours (+6.8%)
- Market 150+ air over 11.1 hours, (+11.5%)
LOCAL BROADCAST TV IS A CRITICAL RESOURCE FOR NEWS AND INFORMATION
Source: Nielsen NSI, processed by WRAP, dates as listed.
Includes all local news programming, including repeats, which aired on fully reportable, local market stations including digital stations.
PEW RESEARCH TRACKS INCREASES IN LOCAL BROADCAST NEWS
Pew Research in association with RTDNA and the Newhouse School at Syracuse University, tracks many aspects of local broadcast news, including the number of hours aired and staff sizes.
Television remains a common place for Americans to get their news, with local TV on par with or outpacing cable and network TV. In 2020, local TV news saw its audience increase across the evening and late night time slots. The average amount of weekday local TV news programming increased slightly in 2020, according to the RTDNA/Newhouse School at Syracuse University survey. Local TV stations dedicated an average of 6.2 hours to news programming per weekday in 2020, up slightly from 5.9 hours in 2018 and 2019. -Pew Local News Report (click here)
Over the past 18 years local broadcast stations have produced more hours of news than in previous years all but 4 times. In 2020, local stations aired over 6 hours of news per day - the highest amount over this period.*
Pew Research also tracks other local news metrics including employment. Technological advances have enabled additional hours of local TV newscasts with about the same level of staffing as in the past.
Roughly 30,000 employees worked as reporters, editors, photographers, or television, film and video editors or operators in broadcast TV newsrooms in 2020, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics. -Pew Local News Report
*Pew's data includes independent stations and reports average number of hours per station.
Source: Pew Research State of Local News, July 2021.