news radio

RTDNA survey: Majority of stations unsure if website profitable or not

Thursday, August 2, 2012 - 11:35am

Profitability over time chartThough nearly all news radio stations now offer a website, just over half do not offer streaming audio, fewer than one in four stations have a mobile app and a majority of NDs/GMs don't know if the website is profitable or not. Those are just some of the findings from the Radio Television Digital News Association's 2012 TV and Radio News Staffing and Profitability Survey.

The survey found that overall, more than 96% of news radio stations have a website. About 80% of the websites offer local news, down 3% from last year (and compared to 100% of TV station websites that offer local news). Just under 50% feature streaming audio, 61% audio, 15.3% "live newscasts," 32.1% "recorded newscasts" and 26.7% podcasts (the survey does not go into detail about what the differences are between some of these categories). The most popular website offerings are text (86%) and pictures (64%). Interestingly, 28.2% offer news video.

Stations said that about 25% of their web content is "web-only." 6.5% of content is user-generated.

As for mobile, the fastest-growing segment for Internet radio in general, only 24.1% of stations offer a mobile app. And 10.7% of stations say they offer mobile-releated content on their websites.

RTDNA's survey also found that the average number of radio employees working on the website was 1.8 (that's 0.8 full-time and 1.0 part-time). Both figures are down from last year. But 67.8% of stations said other staffers help out on the website. About one in five news directors said they were in charge overall of the website, 55% said they were in charge of news content only and just under 17% said they had no management role.

RTDNAAbout 60% of station GMs/NDs weren't sure if the website was profitable or not. Aproximately 13% said the site was profitable, another 13% said it was breaking even and around 15% said it was operating at a loss. "Radio profitability numbers are all about 3% worse than a year ago," writes the RTDNA.

As for how many people are visiting radio station websites, "radio web traffic numbers are still reported by too few news directors to be viewed as reliable." The RTDNA was able to put together overall radio website traffic figures though: 917,500 pageviews and 151,900 unique visitors over the past 30 days. Page views have doubled, but unique visitors are down 25% from last year.

You can find the RTDNA's results here (PDF). This is the fourth part of the RTDNA's 2012 TV and Radio News Staffing and Profitability Survey and was conducted by Bob Papper.

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