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Local Media Outlets Report Digital Ad Revenue Trending Up, LMC Survey Finds

AI is not yet a priority for 2024, but 49% of local media executives see AI as a trend to watch

NEW YORK, Jan 25, 2024The Local Media Consortium today announced the findings from its Local Media Industry Insights Survey 2023, which asked local media industry professionals about the year-over-year state of the industry and outlook for 2024.

The survey, which was conducted September 11-15, 2023, was open to Local Media Consortium members and non-members. Respondents included C-suite executives, sales, marketing, operations, IT and other professionals employed by local newspapers, broadcast and online news outlets across North America and Puerto Rico.

Nearly half of the local media respondents (49%) reported digital advertising revenue was up in 2023 versus the previous year, with 21% saying it was flat and 19% reporting a decrease in digital ad revenue. 44% of respondents reported consumer revenue up versus last year, 24% said it was flat and 7% saw a decrease. Looking ahead to 2024, a majority (79%) of local media industry professionals anticipate an increase in overall digital revenue, while only 3% expect a decrease in digital revenue next year.

"It’s encouraging to see that local media professionals have such a positive outlook for their digital business, despite many challenges navigating the ever-changing digital landscape,” said Fran Wills, CEO of the LMC. "It will be interesting to watch how continued digital transformation, advancements in AI for content, advertising and operations, and the upcoming election impact the local news business, which we expect will continue to play a vital role in communities across the country.”

Top successes for local media in 2023 were digital subscription (21%), website/app redesigns (17%), new digital tools/technology (13%) and video/OTT/CTV (13%) and agency services (13%).  Top challenges were digital technology resources/expertise (39%), website traffic declines (25%), advertising revenue declines (20%) and staffing/training (11%).  

The survey found the highest priority categories for local media outlets to focus on in the upcoming year are advertising monetization strategies, audience and engagement growth, and data and audience insights focusing on first-party data to drive both consumer and advertising revenue growth. 

Also important to local media in 2024 will be content innovation and diversification, video monetization strategies, privacy and compliance, recruiting and retention, and video content strategies. Surprisingly, only 7% of respondents listed AI as the highest priority category for the coming year. 

And while AI isn’t yet a priority for local media outlets, it is a top trend to watch in 2024, with nearly a majority citing AI (49%) listed only second behind community engagement (59%) as a top trend on industry professionals’ radars. Other trends that local newspapers, broadcasters and online outlets will be watching include cross-platform strategies (48%), video distribution (29%) and podcasts (17%), as well as adoption of VR and AR technology (4%).

Asked about their favorite ways to keep up with industry trends, local media professionals chose newsletters, conferences, articles and webinars, all of which the LMC offers its members and partners. 

"The most recent LMC webinar from Beth Sunshine at Center for Sales Strategy (CSS) was excellent," said Monica Boyer-Blanchard, Director of Digital at Tampa Bay Times. "Anytime I can offer my staff sales training by a professional organization, I jump at the chance!"

"Our annual survey helps us keep a finger on the pulse of the industry and better understand the opportunities and challenges facing local media,” said Wills. “We use these research findings to prioritize new digital partnerships and launch new initiatives like Digital On Demand Services (DODS), NewsPassID and The Branded Content Project."

A key part of the LMC’s mission is to deliver value to its members by leveraging its collective scale to work with digital publishing technology and service providers – now 32 partners strong. Previous surveys have pointed to the need for more resources and expertise to address the pace of change and complexities of their digital tech stack. To address this need, the LMC launched its Digital On Demand Services (DODS) program to provide local media companies with broader, lower cost access to technical resources.

LMC members who participated in this year’s local media insights survey reported the programs that they participated in the most over the past year were the The Branded Content Project, NewsPassID and the Digital on Demand Services (DODS) initiatives.  

About the Local Media Consortium

The Local Media Consortium delivers more than $50M in annual economic value through digital partnerships and strategic initiatives on behalf of more than 100 local media companies in top markets across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, and includes more than 5,000 newspaper, radio, TV and online-only news outlets. By harnessing the combined volume and scale of its members, the LMC reduces costs and increases revenue with technology and service providers like Google, Meta, Monster, and others. The aggregated LMC audience footprint spans 200 million unique monthly visitors, and its member companies serve more than nine billion pageviews to consumers. More information is available at

Thatcher+Co Christina Gillham

Kristin Brocoff



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