Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Postcards and laundromat visits: The Texas Tribune audience team experiments with IRL distribution
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.
Show tags
 
Join the 60,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Postcards and laundromat visits: The Texas Tribune audience team experiments with IRL distribution
As social platforms falter for news, a number of nonprofit outlets are rethinking distribution for impact and in-person engagement.
Radio Ambulante launches its own record label as a home for its podcast’s original music
“So much of podcast music is background, feels like filler sometimes, but with our composers, it never is.”
How uncritical news coverage feeds the AI hype machine
“The coverage tends to be led by industry sources and often takes claims about what the technology can and can’t do, and might be able to do in the future, at face value in ways that contribute to the hype cycle.”