Researcher Discusses Changes in Today’s Media Landscape

By Susan Karol, Ph.D.
Executive Director, SNA Foundation


Anthony Casale

During the keynote address at the recent annual convention of the New England Newspaper and Press Association in Boston, American Opinion Research CEO Anthony Casale spoke about trends in the current newspaper environment based on more than 500 media research studies they have conducted.

Mr. Casale described "Five Facts of Life in Today's Media Environment" that media executives need to understand to build audience in the future. These include:

  • The mass market no longer exists. Information has become a "commodity," particularly with all of the online portals now available.
  • Readers are the ones in command.
  • The franchise for some news and information newspapers have traditionally provided is now owned by others. In one research finding, when asked "How often have you seen front page stories before picking up the newspaper?" — 44% responded ‘almost always’ and an additional 44% responded 'sometimes.'
  • Uniqueness" is the new standard; i.e., providing consumers with information they cannot get anywhere else.
  • Some readers are less interested in keeping up with breaking news. One study found that 53% of respondents said that 'if I miss something, I can always catch up at another time.'

To address these changes in the media landscape, Mr. Casale offered a number of suggestions for the audience:

  • Rethink who we are.
  • Develop a wider portfolio of products; a media matrix of print newspapers, online, niche products, and mobile.
  • Provide truly unique and complementary content in print and online.
  • Get users involved with your Web site. Mr. Casale shared some findings from the SNA Foundation’s user-generated content and newspaper Web site credibility study (conducted by AOR) to show that the public overwhelmingly agrees that users ought to be allowed to contribute content on newspaper Web sites, particularly providing story comments and opinions.
  • It is vital to develop a mobile strategy.

At the beginning of his address, Mr. Casale reminded the group that "we're not just news, and we're not just paper." To build strategies for growth, he suggested that it is important to understand past trends, our current situation, what will affect our future, and how we should react.

American Opinion Research of Princeton, NJ is a full-service market research firm serving the media industry. Find AOR online at or 609-683-9055 x202.