HOME
          
LATEST STORY
How The Forward, 118 years old, is remaking itself as the American Jewish community changes
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Sept. 14, 2009, 1:37 p.m.

Lots of data to mull on charging for online content

An invite-only conference began today at the American Press Institute with a singular directive: “generating revenue from online content.” At the morning session, which just wrapped up, Greg Harmon of Belden Interactive and Greg Swanson of ITZ Publishing presented their survey of 2,400 U.S. newspaper executives. The cardinal finding, first reported this morning by Alan Mutter: 51% think they can successfully charge for content on the Internet.

I honestly have no idea what to make of that number, but there’s a ton of really useful data in Harmon and Swanson’s research, including some online revenue figures and in-depth traffic statistics for newspaper websites. The API has kindly posted their 80-slide presentation, which you can follow above.

If you do, the essential accompaniment is Bill Densmore’s liveblog of the presentation, below. (Densmore is a founder of CircLabs and the Media Giraffe Project.) You’ll also want to apply a helping of salt because ITZ Publishing consults for Steve Brill’s pay-for-news firm Journalism Online, which just touted the results as an “API study” without noting its business interest.

Here are some datapoints I found interesting:

— In nearly all markets, newspaper websites receive 2.5 visits and 10 pageviews for each unique visitor.

— “Core loyalists,” who visit a newspaper 2-3 times a day for 20 days a month, comprise 25% of unique visitors. Not surprisingly, then, core loyalists account for 86% of pageviews and are “overwhelmingly local.”

— Seventy percent of core loyalists online are also readers of the print edition (meaning they subscribe or they picked up a copy in the past seven days).

— Newspaper sites made next to no revenue from behaviorally targeted ads or local search advertising in 2008.

— Classified advertising accounts for 16% to 22% of online revenue for newspapers, though that’s expected to decline this year.

— Most newspapers are selling roughly half of their online advertising inventory, but small newspapers only sold 29% in 2008.

What to make of all that? Harmon and Swanson pursue several arguments that you can follow in the slides and Densmore’s notes. I think it’s particularly noteworthy that 70% of those core loyalists online are also print readers, but others can decide what that means for the newspaper industry.

POSTED     Sept. 14, 2009, 1:37 p.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
How The Forward, 118 years old, is remaking itself as the American Jewish community changes
The newspaper, first published in Yiddish, is facing all the familiar pressures of print, combined with a shifting base of potential readers.
Newsonomics: Are local newspapers the taxi cabs of the Uber age?
Local newspapers still act as if they’re monopolies — despite all the new players eating away at their audiences’ attention. Is there room to adapt?
The Dallas Morning News is building data (and sources) through its new Rolodex tool
The open-source tool lets reporters contribute contacts to a centralized newsroom collection of sources — but it can also be used to build larger reader-facing data products.
What to read next
2401
tweets
The Economist’s Tom Standage on digital strategy and the limits of a model based on advertising
“The Economist has taken the view that advertising is nice, and we’ll certainly take money where we can get it, but we’re pretty much expecting it to go away.”
889A wave of distributed content is coming — will publishers sink or swim?
Instead of just publishing to their own websites, news organizations are being asked to publish directly to platforms they don’t control. Is the hunt for readers enough to justify losing some independence?
448This is my next step: How The Verge wants to grow beyond tech blogging
“We want to use technology as a way to define pop culture, in the way Rolling Stone used music and Wired used the early Internet.”
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Fuego is our heat-seeking Twitter bot, tracking the links the future-of-journalism crowd is talking about most on Twitter.
Here are a few of the top links Fuego’s currently watching.   Get the full Fuego ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
PubliCola
Foursquare
Medium
Wikipedia
Knight Foundation
INDenverTimes
St. Louis Globe-Democrat
El Faro
MinnPost
Los Angeles Times
Futurity
New York