What’s the most important number in the news business?
What number, above all other numbers, dictates how many news providers the world will support and which media they will provide news in?
As in “70.”
What is the significance of the number “70” in the news business?
“70” is the number of minutes each day the average American spends consuming news, at least according to one study conducted by Pew in 2010.
That’s all news. Across all media. And all news networks, organisations, and providers.
Those 70 minutes are divided as follows:
TV News: 32 Minutes
Radio News: 15 Minutes
Print News: 10 Minutes (collapsing)
Online News: 13 Minutes (growing rapidly)
Here’s the chart from Pew:
Photo: Pew Research
What that means, of course, is that all of the news organisations providing news in print newspapers across the country are fighting for only 10 minutes of the average American’s day.
And it means that all of the news organisations providing news online, which pretty much amounts to all news organisations, are fighting over only 13 minutes a day.
That’s a lot of competition for not very many minutes.
No wonder the newspaper and digital news businesses are so competitive.
No wonder companies like us keep stressing how important it is for modern newsrooms to be efficient and productive. (You just can’t survive otherwise).
The good news is that, with so many news organisations fighting for a slice of those 13 minutes, Americans have never been better informed.
And before we all get too worked up about this, it’s worth noting that a more recent Pew survey concluded that Americans spend a lot more than 70 minutes a day consuming news. A 2012 Pew study reported the following:
Consumers who get news across all platforms asked about-tablet, smartphone, laptop/desktop, print-add in even more time, reporting typical times of 77 minutes getting news on the tablet, 51 minutes getting news on the smartphone, 76 minutes on the laptop/desktop and 56 minutes with print.
Given the vast disparity between these numbers and the 70 minutes reported in the 2010 study, perhaps the only safe conclusion is that Americans have no idea how much news they consume.
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