There’s certainly no reason to rest on your proverbial laurels if you work in TV news, but neither is it time to call the undertaker. The latest RTDNA/Hofstra University Annual Survey found that 2015 marked another strong year for the TV news business. Nearly 60% of TV newsrooms reported that they made a profit on local news and just 3.7% reported a loss. (To put this in perspective, according to the researchers, profits peaked peak in 2013 at 65.7%.)
The news is not all good, however. According to the lead researcher, Bob Papper, on average, the amount of station revenue generated specifically from news slipped for the first time in the last 3 years, dropping to 47.7%. Median revenue also fell from last year’s 54.5% back down to 50%.
“But there’s a caution in the numbers. As I’ve pointed out before, a high percentage of news directors say they don’t know the answer to this question,” wrote Papper.
It’s also important to note that, once again, station websites are contributing to the overall profitability of stations. Far more stations indicate their online efforts are making money than draining dollars.
What’s particularly heartening in the research is that at least some of the profits are going back into newsrooms. Nearly half of the stations (48.3%) report budget increases in 2015.
All of this should be good news to the thousands of broadcast journalism graduates hoping to enter the workforce. The industry is evolving but not dying, yet.