Monday, October 18, 2010

Hard News Still Matters?

A report out this week argues that hard news is a bigger draw for online newspapers than celebrity fluff.  That's good news, if true.
Newspaper websites get more ad revenue from articles about serious stuff like the Gulf oil spill than from traffic bait like stories on celebrity scandals, according to an analysis by Perfect Market, a company that aims to help publishers become more visible and profitable on the web. 
In the good news/bad news take:
  • The "hard news audience," while small, heads to newspaper websites.
  • Newspapers don't have to pander because (1) it's embarrassing and (2) it apparently doesn't work.  Those infatuated with celebs are probably getting it at TMZ.
  • Hard news kinda still matters.  CNN, for example, is always behind Fox, except when the miners in Chile were being pulled out.  On important hard news stories, people still go more to credible sources.
  • But ... is the core hard news audience large enough, and willing to spend enough, for real news?
One telling graph from the story:
Lindsay Lohan's trouble with the law, Mel Gibson's rants and celebrity divorces didn't compare with any of those, according to Perfect Market, which said it considered more than 15 million news articles from 21 news sites that use its technology, including the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Chicago Tribune. Its analysis factored both the amount of traffic that articles got and the ad revenue for those articles for every thousand page views.

No comments: