Even in Tight Election, Media Struggle to Retain Audience

Choosier consumers, Internet video hurt
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2008 9:30 AM CDT
Brian Williams, host of NBC Nightly News. Network news has seen little upswing in viewership despite unprecedented interest in the 2008 election campaign.   (AP Photo/Meet The Press, Alex Wong)
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(Newser) – Even as the 2008 election attracts more voter interest than it has in decades, media efforts to translate that into financial success have had mixed results, reports the New York Times. While cable news has enjoyed an uptick—and websites are setting record for online video—viewership for mainstream news media has been flatlining or worse.

The three network anchors traveled with Barack Obama, but saw no ratings boost; likewise news magazines see barely any effect with a presidential candidate on the cover. Most worrisome of all is consumers' decreasing loyalty: More readers are picking and choosing their election coverage, making ad revenue scarcer. “The difference between ’04 and ’08 is like walking into a different century,” says Politico's editor. “Having a sole source of news—those days are over.”