Local television in the U.S. saw massive change in 2013, change that remained under the radar of most Americans. Big owners of local TV stations got substantially bigger, thanks to a wave of station purchases. While the TV business profited, the impact on consumers is less clear and seems to vary from one market to the next. Still, the rapidly spreading practice of separately owned stations being operated jointly drew criticism from consumer groups and new scrutiny from federal regulators.
After a couple of difficult years, finally there was some good news for local television. Thanks to the economic recovery and a busy election year, revenues rose sharply in 2010. As more stations continued to add newscasts in new time slots, the overall audience for local TV news actually held steady and new delivery platforms, including mobile, raised hope for the future.
While news consumption online increased 17% last year from the year before, local, network and cable television news, newspapers, radio and magazines all lost audience in 2010, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism.
CNN, MSNBC and Fox News Channel lost viewers last year, the first time all three have seen dropoffs in a dozen years, according to a new study.