top of page
  • Writer's pictureArmen Dilanchian

The Evolution of News: From Information to Entertainment

On June 27, 2024, the first presidential debate promises to be a high-rating event for CNN, reflecting a broader trend: news has transformed from a source of information to a form of entertainment. The days of in-depth, objective journalism have been overshadowed by a focus on shock value and ratings. This shift has significant implications for both the media industry and its audience.

The Rise of News as Entertainment

In the past, viewers sought entertainment through movies and TV shows, either by going to theaters or streaming content at home. However, in recent years, news has increasingly dominated their attention. The 24-hour news cycle, social media, and the internet have all contributed to this change. News networks, in an effort to maintain high ratings and sell advertising space, have shifted towards sensationalism.

The Metrics Behind the Trend

Recent data illustrates this transformation:

  1. TV Ratings and Advertising Revenue: News channels have seen a significant increase in viewership during major political events, natural disasters, and other crises. For instance, during the 2020 presidential debates, networks like CNN and Fox News reported record-breaking ratings. This surge translates directly into higher advertising revenue, as brands are willing to pay a premium to reach a larger audience.

  2. Social Media Engagement: Platforms like X, Facebook, and Instagram show spikes in engagement during breaking news events. Trending topics often include news-related hashtags, and the more controversial or shocking the story, the more it is shared and commented on.

  3. Streaming Services Struggle: Major streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime have had to compete not just with each other, but with news channels. While these platforms invest heavily in original content, they sometimes struggle to capture the same immediate attention as sensational news stories. This is evident in their quarterly reports, which occasionally show dips in viewership coinciding with major news events.

The Impact on Journalism

The shift towards entertainment-driven news has had several effects on journalism:

  • Decline in Investigative Reporting: In-depth investigative journalism is costly and time-consuming. As news organizations prioritize quick, attention-grabbing stories, there is less investment in comprehensive reporting.

  • Bias and Polarization: To attract and retain viewers, news outlets often cater to specific political or social demographics. This has led to increased bias and polarization in news coverage, as stories are framed to appeal to particular audiences.

  • Erosion of Public Trust: Sensationalism can erode public trust in the media. According to a Gallup poll, public trust in mass media has declined significantly over the past decade, with many people believing that news organizations are more interested in ratings than in providing accurate information.

Looking Ahead

As we approach the 2024 presidential debate, it's clear that this event will be as much about entertainment as it is about politics. Networks like CNN will undoubtedly see high ratings, driven by viewers eager for the latest drama and spectacle.

However, there is still a demand for quality journalism. Independent news organizations and investigative journalists continue to produce important work, often relying on alternative funding models such as subscriptions and donations. For the media industry to balance ratings with responsibility, a renewed commitment to journalistic integrity is essential.

while news has undeniably become a form of entertainment, there is still hope for a future where the media can provide both engaging and accurate information. As viewers, we have the power to demand better by supporting outlets that prioritize truth over sensationalism.

This transformation of news from information to entertainment reflects broader societal changes and poses challenges for both media producers and consumers. By understanding the metrics and implications of this trend, we can better navigate the complex media landscape of today.

Stream It Your Way: Let the People Decide on Amazon Prime Video and Tubi!

26 views0 comments


bottom of page