New Pew study looks at ‘participatory news consumer’

1 03 2010

A study released today by Pew Internet examines “how internet and cell phone users have turned news into a social experience.”

Interestingly, while another report from Pew three months ago found that newspapers still drove the local news “ecosystem” in one city (Baltimore)  it studied intensely, today’s report concludes:

The internet has surpassed newspapers and radio in popularity as a news platform on a typical day and now ranks just behind TV.

Among the other major points of the study:

  • The average online consumer regularly turns to only a few websites.
  • Internet users use the web for a range of news, but local is not near the top of the
    list.
  • News is pocket-sized. Some 80% of American adults have cell phones today, and 37% of them go online from their phones.
  • News is personalized: The “Daily Me” takes shape.
  • News is easier to follow now, but overwhelming. And most topics get plenty of coverage, in Americans’ eyes. [The topic on which Americans most want more coverage: Scientific news and discoveries.]




What We’re Willing to Pay for Online

16 02 2010

Forgive the USA-Today-style headline, but a new report from Nielsen on attitudes toward paid Internet content may offer some hope for a revenue stream for online news providers.

Nielsen surveyed 27,000 across 52 countries. The survey showed that about four out of 10 consumers would consider paying for online newspapers, and one in three would consider paying for Internet-only news sources. Nearly half would consider paying for magazine content online.

Those numbers may sound unexciting, but consider that news consumers probably make up a modest portion of the general consuming public Nielsen surveyed. It indicates that there is at least a market for pay-for-content in news, though maybe a reluctant one.

The survey results, however leave many unanswered questions about a business model for online news:

“Regardless of what systems they choose, media companies will almost certainly not abandon advertising; and consumers will doubtless still see ads along with paid content. For the 47% of respondents who are willing to accept more advertising to subsidize free content, that may be tolerable. Yet it will probably not sit well with the 64% who believe that if they must pay for content online, there should be no ads.”





Digital news paradigm shift?

7 10 2009

Here’s an interesting thought: Online news providers working not through their own Web sites but through news applications on social media.

The concept may work best initially for news about well defined geographic areas or niche topics, such as a university or sports team. But the use of social site news aps could rapidly broaden once news consumers grow accustomed to the idea. The advantage is to catch readers where they already go, rather than forcing them to seek out your news site.

As Steve Rubel sees it:

Conceivably the next great media company will be all spokes and no hub. It will exist as a constellation of connected apps and widgets that live inside other sites and offer a full experience plus access to your social graph and robust community features. Each of these may interconnect too so that a media company’s community on Facebook can talk to the same on Twitter.

Facebook might be the first venue where this starts. It could become a mini news reader for millions who don’t care about RSS or Twitter. Over time this may obviate the need to create large news sites. It’s easier to create a rich interactive experience there than start a new news site and hope that people come to you. They won’t have time to find or visit.





American Press Institute: Paid Content Is the Future for News Web Sites

3 06 2009

The 31-page white paper, summarized here by Rick Edmonds of the Poynter Institute, concludes:

“Newspapers can make the leap from an advertising-centered to an audience-centered enterprise” and should get on with it immediately.

 
The report, titled Newspaper Economic Action Plan, recommends that industry leaders follow five new “doctrines.”
  • True Value. Establish that news content online has value by charging for it. Begin “massive experimentation with several of the most promising options.”
  • Fair Use. Maintain the value of professionally produced and edited content by “aggressively enforcing copyright, fair use and the right to profit from original work.”
  • Fair Share. Negotiate a higher price for content produced by the news industry that is aggregated and redistributed by others.
  • Digital Deliverance. “Invest in technologies, platforms and systems that provide content-based e-commerce, data-sharing and other revenue generating solutions.”
  • Consumer Centric. Refocus on consumers and users. Shift revenue strategies from those focused on advertisers.
  • Full text of the report is available here.





    Challenges? Check. Causes? Check. Solutions?

    9 04 2009

    Alan Portner with Examiner.com, a former newspaper publisher and editor, regularly writes about the news media dilemma. Here are good briefs on the current challenges and how we got here.

    He lists a few theories in answer to his question, “Who  is going to pay the news gatherers?”

    Among ideas put forward:
    o A BBC model which taxes citizens for the gathering of news.
    o A PBS model with semi-annual voluntary fund drives.
    o Newspapers should become non-profits…deliberately.
    o Government should support the gathering of news.
    o A new 501C3 type hybrid called a L3C (backed by the Newspaper Guild) will earn low profits and still accept donations.
    o Some current owners picture individualized news products for every reader. 

     But he concludes:

    The future is limited only by our ability to imagine it.  But for now… the future is still a little cloudy.