Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Spain’s Eldiario.es has 18,000 paying members, and its eye on the next several million
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Oct. 21, 2013, 9:53 a.m.
LINK: www.nber.org  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   October 21, 2013

There are, as they say, only so many minutes in a day. So if we’re spending more and more time online — breaking news alert! we are — that time has to come from somewhere.

This new paper from Scott Wallsten of the Technology Policy Institute (PDF here) looks at what online media seems to be replacing in our daily lives. The biggest losers: work, sleep, and TV.

I find that, on the margin, each minute of online leisure time is correlated with 0.29 fewer minutes on all other types of leisure, with about half of that coming from time spent watching TV and video, 0.05 minutes from (offline) socializing, 0.04 minutes from relaxing and thinking, and the balance from time spent at parties, attending cultural events, and listening to the radio. Each minute of online leisure is also correlated with 0.27 fewer minutes working, 0.12 fewer minutes sleeping, 0.10 fewer minutes in travel time, 0.07 fewer minutes in household activities, and 0.06 fewer minutes in educational activities.

Wallsten has a bit in there on the impact on the news business:

To be sure, the online version of the newspaper must generate additional consumer surplus relative to the offline version or the newspaper industry would not be losing so many print readers, but not all of time spent reading the paper online reflects the incremental value of the Internet. Additionally, at a price of zero the activity might attract more consumers than when the activity was paid, or consumers might read more electronic books than paper books because they prefer the format or because e-books are so much easier to obtain. But even if lower prices increase consumption of a particular activity, the cost of that additional consumption is time no longer spent on another activity.

Activities that once required payment but became free, such as reading the news online, represent a transfer of surplus from producers to consumers, but not new total surplus. Of course, these transfers may have large economic effects as they can lead to radical transformations of entire industries, especially given that consumers spend about $340 billion annually on leisure activities.

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Spain’s Eldiario.es has 18,000 paying members, and its eye on the next several million
“We have a potential of six million readers. You may not convince all six million people to be your socios, but if you learn more about their interests, you can get closer.”
Chasing subscriptions over scale, The Athletic wants to turn local sports fandom into a sustainable business — starting in Chicago
“It’s very easy today to be click-driven and produce articles that don’t have a lot of substance or depth and don’t cost that much to produce, but that dynamic is disappointing for fans who want higher-quality content.”
Hot Pod: We now have new, free rankings to show how podcasts stack up against each other
Plus: Parsing the RadioPublic announcement; premium podcast subscriptions; Bill Simmons oversimplifies things.
What to read next
0
tweets
The American Bystander is trying to revive the humor magazine with a reader-supported business model
“Our idea was that we were going to create one of these things in a classic format and see if there was enough interest to sustain it.”
0Algorithms, clickworkers, and the befuddled fury around Facebook Trends
“Trends are not the same as news, but Facebook kinda wants them to be.”
0With new columns and newsletters, ProPublica is trying to attract new readers and have more fun
“There’s a huge benefit to coming up with features that are more fun and more interesting. It appeals to a different audience and can create closer connections with readers — they can see a different side of us.”
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
Topix
Tribune Publishing
Center for Public Integrity
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
Semana
Frontline
The Miami Herald
Journal Register Co.
The Daily Beast
SF Appeal
Fox News