Nothing Compares to News

Another guest blog from Jupiter’s European media analyst Nick Thomas
I’ve been spending the last 12 months researching two hugely popular online phenonema – social networking and online video. But our research shows that another less–heralded form of online content – good old-fashioned news – is almost as popular as both of those upstarts combined with 42 percent of European online users accessing news regularly (compared with 28 for online video and 15 percent for social networking).

Some who comment on the news market see it from the perspective of the print world, where revenues and readerships are indeed declining. But the overall audience for news – either online or in print, not to mention radio and TV – is in rude health. As are many ‘old’ news brands: most online Europeans turn to trusted brands –newspaper and broadcaster sites – first. Smart news providers are also allowing users to incorporate their branded content via RSS feeds and widgets, and encouraging them to find it by focusing on search optimization. These tactics are helping to build new audiences for branded news among younger users less loyal to the offline news brands.

News provision in a multi-platform universe is not about one format cannibalizing another, either. One major news publisher in Scandinavia reports overlap of less than 20 percent between readers of its best-selling print title and its website. With online visitors outnumbering buyers, they have effectively doubled their readership through embracing a multiplatform approach. The challenge is to monetize that traffic and migrate resources at the right time. But news is finding new audiences online.

You can read more about this in my latest report, Online News: Where To Successfully Engage Young Europeans.