Local TV news broadcast hours increased 40% over last decade

Local TV news broadcast hours increased 40% over last decade

Local broadcast television news saw significant increases in both the number of local news telecasts and the amount of hours aired over the past 10 years, according to analysis of Nielsen data from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).

NAB’s findings show that 107,000 hours of local television news content was aired in November 2021, a 40% increase from November 2011. Relatedly, 154,445 local news telecasts aired in November 2021, a 35% increase from November 2011.

Both the number of local news telecasts and hours of local news content increased around 16% in a five-year time period (i.e., compared to November 2016), implying a relative slowing of growth in the past five years compared to the previous half-decade.

Growth in local TV news broadcasts was led by Spanish-language local news, which more than doubled in the same decade-long timespan from 4,000 to 8,300 telecasts and from 2,200 to 4,600 hours aired.

This is despite the fact that local broadcasters are struggling to compete financially in an era of changing news habits.

A 2021 NAB study found that local broadcasters suffer a total annual loss of $1.87bn to Google and Facebook by providing their content to these platforms without adequate compensation.

Facebook recently announced it would cease paying news publications for news on its platform.

“Despite almost unlimited sources of news and information, Americans continue to turn to their local broadcasters for reliable, trustworthy reporting about the events shaping their lives,” said NAB president and CEO Curtis LeGeyt.

The US has also been losing newspapers at a rate of two per week according to a June Medill School of Journalism report, many of them local papers, further highlighting the hollowing out of local news providers.

LeGeyt stated that “outdated laws and regulations” are harming broadcasters’ ability to compete for advertising dollars and audience. NAB has advocated for stricter actions to be taken by the US government against alleged antitrust violations by digital platforms that it says are harming local news broadcasters.

Recent studies have found that Americans trust local TV news more than any other media source (74% trust), a stark difference compared to news on social media (39% trust).

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