This report offers a complete analysis of the US media industry. Our expert dives deep into the past, present, and future of the media, with a focus on the consumer perspective today.

Find the scope of the report and key topics covered below, with free insights from the report itself as well.

Report Scope

For the purposes of this Report, media includes video (eg TV/streaming video), audio (eg podcasts, radio), written (eg newspapers, magazines, digital media (streaming/ downloadable content), and social media.

Key Topics Covered

    • Media market key players, landscape, and media segment performance.
    • Market factors impacting the media industry and consumers.
    • Physical media purchases, paid subscriptions, paid downloads, and use of free content services.
    • Attitudes toward news and media.
    • News media channel preferences.
    • Perceptions of news media channels.

US Media Industry: Overview

Media consolidation over the past four decades has led to 10 companies controlling the majority of US media. This has had several negative consequences, including bias toward the owners’ interests, the morphing of news and entertainment, and a lack of diversity that perpetuates a dominant viewpoint. Consumers are increasingly distrustful of news sources, leading to a decrease in credibility for media organizations. Media stakeholders will want to focus on providing authentic messaging and tightening their targeting to their known consumer base.

US Media Industry: Future Outlook

    • 2023: The WGA (Writers Guild of America) writer’s strike means that new scripted material is sparse. So, brands continue to acquire existing content and optimize the user experience across touchpoints like apps and search functions.
    • 2024-2025: Unless addressed, distrust in news will continue alongside polarizing elections and increasing use of AI in newsrooms. Social media and other outlets will continue to draw attention away from traditional outlets.
    • 2026-2028: More content hubs will mean more options for consumers as Congress takes an interest in legislating media to tackle synthetic media and other issues.

While the outlook may seem bleak, this report offers opportunities to respond to consumers’ views of media as it is today. See the Table of Contents (Market Opportunities) below for an idea. Alternatively, you may be interested in our Social Media: Spotlight on Content Creators Market Report, to provide a better view of how to adapt to the changing media landscape with social media’s surge.

Additional Features Included in Your Report

Different Digital Formats: PDF for conveniently sharing with your team, PowerPoint for quickly including in your presentation, as well as an Infographic and an Excel Databook.

Mintel’s Clients Portal: Our portal offers instant access to actionable analysis and trends pieces relevant to your industry that are published almost daily. You can also browse for more market research reports.

Expert Analysis from a Media Specialist

This report, by leading media analyst Jenni Nelson, delivers an in-depth analysis of the US media industry. Read their commentary below.

Consumers have more media options than ever before – both in terms of channels as well as the content available; and consumption is keeping apace. Getting – and keeping – consumers’ attention is increasingly challenging. News consumption is especially tenuous, as decades of ownership consolidation has left many distrustful of news outlets and less engaged with the news overall.

Jenni Nelson - Media & Technology Analyst

Jenni Nelson
Technology, Media and Entertainment Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • This Report looks at the following areas
        • Definition
          • Market context
          • Executive Summary

              • Top takeaways
                • Market overview
                  • Figure 1: Media Landscape outlook, 2023-28
                • Opportunities and challenges
                  • Opportunities
                    • Challenges
                      • Key consumer insights
                        • Consumer thirst for media (content) is insatiable
                          • Physical media is still a vital part of media
                            • Free content is most popular, but media is acquired from a variety of sources
                              • Figure 2: Use of any free content, paid subscriptions, physical media, paid downloads – NETs, 2023
                            • Engagement with news media is low, trust is dismal
                              • TV is still the preferred channel for news, but many perceive the channel negatively
                              • Media Market Landscape

                                • Decades of media consolidation squeezes out smaller players
                                  • Bias toward the interests of the owners
                                    • News and entertainment morph
                                      • Figure 3: Top five daily google search topics, by category, May 30-June 1, 2023
                                      • Figure 4: Top five daily Google search topics, May 30-June 1, 2023
                                    • Lack of diversity in leadership means a lack of perspective
                                    • Segment Performance

                                      • Watching trumps listening, reading, playing: TV, video, movies still #1
                                        • Figure 5: Media NETs: Paid physical, paid download, paid subscription, free content, 2023
                                      • Younger generations choose music and video games over reading
                                        • Figure 6: Media NETs: Paid physical, paid download, paid subscription, free content, by generation, 2023
                                      • Social media use continues to grow
                                        • Figure 7: Social media – Daily use, by platform, 2017-23
                                    • Market Drivers

                                      • AI paves way for “synthetic media” to proliferate unchecked
                                        • Figure 8: Kanyegoescountry, TikTok; Pope in a puffer, 2023
                                      • Print and cable TV continue to suffer as digital consumption grows
                                        • Consumers are distracted and impatient
                                        • Key Players

                                          • Key players have vast holdings across channels
                                            • Figure 9: Top media companies, revenue and owned properties, 2022
                                        • Competitive Strategies

                                          • Algorithms keep consumers’ attention
                                            • Mergers and acquisitions allow for cross-selling at little to no cost
                                              • Figure 10: Disney+ Hulu bundle and AT&T-HBO Max, Facebook ads, 2023
                                            • Free trials are table stakes for paid subscriptions
                                              • Video streamers employ welcome and onboarding email campaigns to hook subscribers as soon as possible
                                                • Figure 11: Max and Netflix, email, 2023
                                            • Market Opportunities

                                              • Regain consumer trust
                                                • Focus on a tighter target
                                                  • News by humans, for humans
                                                    • Pollyanna but possible: A news media ceasefire
                                                      • Double down on DEI
                                                        • Keep consumers’ attention
                                                          • Continue perfecting algorithms
                                                            • Increase subscription options
                                                              • Exclusive content
                                                                • Diversify content
                                                                • The Media Consumer – Fast Facts

                                                                  • Consumers still crave a tangible media experience
                                                                    • More income does not lead to more physical media purchases or paid downloads
                                                                      • Households with children are top users of paid downloads
                                                                        • Consumers love their subscriptions
                                                                          • Free and ad-supported content is the backbone of consumers’ media consumption
                                                                            • Engagement with news is low, and trust for news outlets is dismal
                                                                              • Consumers have a love/hate relationship with TV news
                                                                              • Physical Media Purchases

                                                                                • Most consumers buy physical media; print is still relevant
                                                                                    • Figure 12: Physical media purchases in the last three months and count of types, 2023
                                                                                  • Younger consumers buy the most physical media
                                                                                      • Figure 13: Physical media purchases in the last three months, by age, 2023
                                                                                    • Dads buy more physical media compared to moms
                                                                                      • Figure 14: Physical media purchases in the last three months, by parental status and gender, 2023
                                                                                    • Consider what physical media purchases provide outside the content
                                                                                        • Figure 15: Count of physical media purchases in the last three months, by household income, 2023
                                                                                    • Paid Downloads

                                                                                      • Consumers supplement subscriptions with sought-after downloads
                                                                                        • Figure 16: Paid downloads last three months and count of types, 2023
                                                                                      • Satisfy finicky and obsessive children with paid access/downloads of select content
                                                                                        • Figure 17: Paid downloads last three months, by age of children in the household, 2023
                                                                                      • Like physical media purchases, paid downloads are not tied to income
                                                                                        • Figure 18: Count of paid downloads last three months, by household income, 2023
                                                                                    • Paid Subscriptions

                                                                                      • Stand out from the competition with exclusive and premium content
                                                                                          • Figure 19: Paid subscriptions currently used and counts, 2023
                                                                                        • Widen access to subscriptions so more can take advantage
                                                                                            • Figure 20: Star Tribune/Steve Grove Tweet, 2023
                                                                                            • Figure 21: Paid subscriptions, by financial situation, 2023
                                                                                        • Free Content

                                                                                          • Infinite choice increases competition for attention
                                                                                              • Figure 22: Free content last three months, 2023
                                                                                            • More channels are better than one; rely on media partnerships for guidance
                                                                                              • Figure 23: TURF – Free content last three months, 2023
                                                                                            • Second-screening is common among younger consumers using free content
                                                                                              • Figure 24: Free content last three months – Select items, by second screening frequency, 2023
                                                                                          • Attitudes Toward News and Media

                                                                                            • Consider perspectives outside the dominant one to relay news
                                                                                              • Figure 25: Attitudes toward news and media – News engagement, 2023
                                                                                            • Bring the news to those who don’t have the luxury of time or money
                                                                                                • Figure 26: Attitudes toward news and media – News engagement, by education, 2023
                                                                                              • Win audiences back by providing diverse perspectives and tackling false information head on
                                                                                                  • Figure 27: Attitudes toward news and media – Trust, 2023
                                                                                                • Reconsider how objectivity impacts news
                                                                                                  • Figure 28: Attitudes toward news and media – Trust, by 25-54s and area, 2023
                                                                                                • Content monitoring is vital to the success of social media
                                                                                                    • Figure 29: Social media sentiment, 2017-23
                                                                                                • News Media Channel Preferences

                                                                                                  • Remind consumers why TV news is the superior way to stay up-to-date
                                                                                                      • Figure 30: News media channel preferences, by news type, 2023
                                                                                                    • Social media could position itself to be a major news platform of the future
                                                                                                        • Figure 31: Social media as a preferred news source, by news type, by race/Hispanic origin, 2023
                                                                                                    • Perceptions of News Media Channels

                                                                                                      • Don’t waste effort on trying to win over everyone
                                                                                                          • Figure 32: Perceptions of news media channels, 2023
                                                                                                        • Local media can speak to its strengths to attract more audience share
                                                                                                          • Figure 33: Correspondence Analysis – Symmetrical map – Perceptions of news media channels, 2023
                                                                                                      • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                        • Data sources
                                                                                                          • Sales data
                                                                                                            • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                              • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                                • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                  • Terms
                                                                                                                  • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                                                                                    • TURF methodology
                                                                                                                        • Figure 34: Table – TURF Analysis – Free content use, 2023
                                                                                                                      • Correspondence methodology
                                                                                                                          • Figure 35: Correspondence Analysis – Principal map – Perceptions of news sources, 2023
                                                                                                                          • Figure 36: Perceptions of news media channels, 2023

                                                                                                                      About the report

                                                                                                                      This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


                                                                                                                      Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


                                                                                                                      Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


                                                                                                                      Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


                                                                                                                      Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our tables of data are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

                                                                                                                      Below is a sample report, understand what you are buying.

                                                                                                                      Click to show report

                                                                                                                      Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted. Our reports are available to download in PDF and PPT formats.

                                                                                                                      Trusted by companies. Big and small.

                                                                                                                      Bell Logo - Mintel client
                                                                                                                      Boots Logo - Mintel Client
                                                                                                                      Kelloggs Logo - Mintel client
                                                                                                                      Samsung Logo - Mintel client
                                                                                                                      Nike Logo - Mintel client
                                                                                                                      Walgreens Logo - Mintel client

                                                                                                                      Want to speak to us directly?

                                                                                                                      Contact us on via phone or fill out a form with your enquiry.

                                                                                                                      Contact Us