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Oct. 13, 2017, 8:45 a.m.
LINK: www.wan-ifra.org  ➚   |   Posted by: Shan Wang   |   October 13, 2017

Journalism is going through a moment of self-reckoning. News organizations around the world are trying to repair or improve readers’ perceptions of their work, while also trying to figure out how to make real money sustainably while playing on Facebook and Google’s turf (and not just to stem print losses).

So they focus increasingly on the individual loyal reader.

Revenue from readers is around 30 percent of total digital revenues, according to the WAN-IFRA World Press Trends report, published on Thursday. Findings in the report drew from data from more than 70 countries, contextualizes data from other sources like Chartbeat and Zenith, and corroborates some findings from other reports like the Reuters Institute Digital News Report or the American Press Institute Media Insight project.

When it comes to the more loyal readers who directly visit a news site:

Almost all the major markets that have more than 50 percent direct traffic are European, with Slovenia and Switzerland at well over 60 percent…Some of the lowest scoring countries in terms of direct traffic include South American regions like Peru and Bolivia, as well as Asian ones like Malaysia, the Philippines and South Korea. Ireland, the UK and Russia are the only countries in Europe with 25 percent or less direct traffic.

There’s also wide variation across regions in what devices readers use to access news. Traffic to news sites from desktop are highest in Israel (77.3%), Slovenia (75.48%), Palestine (74.71%), and Czech Republic (73.21%), based on Chartbeat data collected in 2016. But news sites across many countries are seeing above half of their traffic via mobile devices, especially in Latin America: Paraguay (60.24%), Bolivia (59.93%), Ireland (59.81%), Guatemala (59.59%).

In this environment, publishers are also trying to wrest the digital revenue that has mostly gone to Facebook and Google (see: Are publishers making money on Facebook? “Not really”). The World Press Trends report cites several examples of formal alliances between otherwise competing publishers around digital advertising, including Buymedia in Belgium, Digital Premium in Brazil, Audience Square in France, Project Nonio in Portugal, and Singapore Media Exchange, coming in 2018. It’s a way publishers are trying to “generate the scale needed to compete with Google and Facebook,” though such alliances have issues:

Agility and responsiveness may be impaired by a large group of publishers being involved in all parts of the decision-making. As demonstrated in the Belgian case, an alliance may benefit from being operated by one party, on behalf of publishers.

Exclusivity can also be an issue. One of the key reasons the French La Place Media joint venture has done so well is that it provides the only place for advertisers to buy programmatically with all publishers involved — i.e. the publishers are not running their own “competing” programmatic sales in parallel.

The full report is available for purchase here.

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