RTDNA Survey Finds 2015 Was Good for TV News

Sixty percent of TV newsrooms were profitable
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Things were apparently up for the local TV news business in 2015, although not quite as high as the year before.

In the latest RTDNA/Hofstra University survey, 60% of TV news operations across the country reported making a profit last year.

That’s not as high as it was in 2013, when the percentage of profitable stations rose to more than 65%, but it’s not bad, either. The 2015 number is just a tad lower than it was the year before, according to the survey, which was released Monday.

However, average station revenue from news dropped for the first time in three years, the survey found, sliding 4% from nearly 52% in 2014. Median revenue also dropped to 50% from 54% the year before. But Bob Papper, the former Hofstra professor who conducts the survey, said that number comes with a caveat; It doesn’t reflect the high percentage of news directors who said they didn’t know the answer to that question.

In other findings, the survey shows website profitability was up nearly 6 points, with the biggest newsrooms reporting the biggest gains. That’s despite the percentage of stations selling digital offerings other than ads falling nearly three points to slightly more than 20%, part of a steady decline over since 2012.