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Forty-two percent of local stations don’t know whether they are making money on the Internet

Just less than 31 percent of television station Web sites are making a profit, says a new study from RTNDA/Hofstra University. About 10 percent are breaking even, 17 percent are showing a loss, and 42 percent simply don’t know if their site is making money.

The survey was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2008 among 1648 nonsatellite TV stations. Valid responses came from 73.5 percent of television stations.

Stations average 2.3 full-time and 3.7 part-time employees for Internet duties, for a total of six employees. The total is just 3.6 people in markets 1-25, but 6.7 in markets 26-50 and 7.2 in markets 51-100.

In the newsroom, 38 percent of respondents said “most of the staff” is on top of producing news across multiple platforms. Forty-eight percent say the newsroom has “a long way to go,” and almost 14 percent said newsroom personnel are “mostly winging it” online.

As to online content, nearly 93 percent of stations offer news video, 34 percent do live newscasts on the Web, and 31 percent offer recorded newscasts. Fifty-six percent offer blogs, and 12 percent produce podcasts. Around 41 percent are integrating social networking into the Web site, while 36 percent do no social networking at all.

“Clearly stations have a long way to go,” said Bob Papper, the study’s author and chairman of the Hofstra journalism school.