Tag Archives: Pew Research Center

If You Have News, It Will Be Aggregated and/or Curated

The Pew Research Center has come out with a massive new report on the state of media as part of its Project for Excellence in Journalism, and it comes to a number of conclusions about where the industry stands—including the fact that Twitter and Facebook are still driving a fairly small amount of traffic to media outlets (although this segment is growing quickly) and that such tech giants as Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft control almost 70 percent of online advertising. But one other thing that becomes clear from the Pew report is just how big a role aggregators of all kinds—both human and machine-powered—are playing in news consumption.

Despite the growing evidence to the contrary, many newspaper companies and other traditional media outlets still seem to think the vast majority of their audience comes to them directly and prefers to read their content above all other sources. More than anything else, this is the core philosophy behind the rise of paywalls—which more and more papers are implementing—and also the millions of dollars media companies have poured into developing iPad apps and other walled-garden-style approaches to news delivery. The assumption is that readers will want only the content that comes from that specific outlet.

For many consumers, however, aggregators of various kinds are the way they consume their news now, whether through Web-based portals like Yahoo News or Google News, or through a variety of newer aggregation-based apps and services, such as Flipboard, Pulse, or Zite for the iPad, as well as News.me, Summify (which was recently acquired by Twitter), and Percolate. According to the Pew report, almost 30 percent of consumers get their news from a “news organizing website or app,” compared with the 36 percent who go directly to a media company’s website or app.

In effect, many users seem to be looking to generate their own digital-newspaper-style overview of the world rather than accepting one from a single media outlet, and if the content they are looking for comes from an aggregator like the Huffington Post because the original is behind a paywall, then so be it. The problem for media companies is that this kind of behavior is in direct conflict with most of  the business models they’re relying on for revenue, whether it’s advertising or app- and paywall-based subscription services—which is why such media moguls as News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch continually accuse Google of “piracy.”

And the problem is actually even bigger than that, since the Huffington Post and Google News are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to aggregation and/or curation. Although Facebook and Twitter may not be huge factors in terms of news consumption at the moment—as my colleague Staci has pointed out at paidContent—with only 9 percent of users saying they get their news from those networks, that figure has grown almost 60 percent in the past year alone and is likely continuing to increase.

To some extent the curation phenomenon is helping mainstream news organizations, because people are sharing links that get clicked on and drive traffic back to news outlets. This is especially the case with Twitter, since the Pew report notes that a larger proportion of users follow official media sources there, while a majority of Facebook users get their news from friends and family members. But just as with aggregation apps and services, the content that any single media company produces just becomes part of the sea of content that is distributed through these networks.

On top of that, Facebook itself is becoming much more of an aggregator of news, through the “social reading” apps it offers from such outlets as the Washington Post and the Guardian. Although both newspapers have bragged about the number of people who have registered for their apps and shared content through them, the reality is that much of the benefit from that activity ultimately goes to Facebook—in terms of the time users spend on the site, the advertising they are exposed to, etc.—rather than the news outlet.

Emily Bell, the former Guardian digital editor who now runs the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, noted in a response to the Pew report on Twitter that social platforms like Facebook are becoming “frenemies” with media companies, since they generate traffic but also suck up much of the benefit in terms of advertising.



Newspapers the fastest-shrinking industry in the U.S.

Using five years’ worth of data from the Council of Economic Advisors, LinkedIn has calculated how the job rate has grown or declined in various industries, finding that between 2007 and 2011, the U.S. newspaper industry shrunk the most of any other industry analyzed, LinkedIn reported. While the “internet” category and “online publishing” are two of the fastest growing industries, up 24.6 percent and 24.3 percent, respectively, from 2007 to 2011, the newspaper business lost the greatest percentage of jobs, down 28.4 percent, Business Insider explained. Such depressing numbers about the newspaper industry should come as no surprise considering that, in 2007, The New York Times Company was trading for about USD 25 a share, and in February 2012, USD 6.56, according to another Business Insider article. And as The Atlantic pointed out with some telling graphics, print advertising in newspapers has “collapsed.” Despite the growing internet and online publishing industries, a new report from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellency in Journalism showed that newspapers’ online advertising revenues are not making up for print ad , as for every USD 1 gained in digital advertising, USD 7 are lost in print revenue


Pew Internet and Life Project says internet will have greater impact on our lives by 2020

Over the next decade, the benefits of being social online will greatly outweigh any hindrances that come with it, according to a study. With tools like e-mail and social networks at hand, people have a low-cost means of connecting with new people, as well as with old friends, irrespective of geography and normal time constraints, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. In a survey of 895 Internet experts and users conducted between December 2009 and January 2010, 85 percent said they believe the Internet will be a positive force in their lives in 2020. About 14 percent believe the opposite, saying the Internet will mostly have been a negative force by the year 2020. “Most of the people who participated in the survey were effusive in their praise of the social connectivity already being leveraged globally online,” the study noted. “They said humans’ use of the Internet’s capabilities for communication — for creating, cultivating, and continuing social relationships — is undeniable. Many enthusiastically cited their personal experiences as examples, and several noted that they had met their spouse through Internet-borne interaction.” However, the Internet wasn’t coming up as a positive force for everyone in the survey. Some respondents said the Internet robs them of time they would have otherwise spent on face-to-face relationships. Some also noted that the Internet fosters mostly shallow relationships, may make people feel more isolated and can expose people’s personal information


Pew study shows mainstream press influence in life cycle of news agenda remains strong in most areas but social media is gaining ground in populist press and new technology driven stories

Social media sites have short attention spans when it comes to news items on the agenda of the mainstream media, according to a new study. The ‘New Media, Old Media’ report by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) suggests that on blogs 53 per cent of lead stories in a given week will be shared and discussed for no longer than three days. The same can be said for 72 per cent of lead stories shared via Twitter; 52 per cent drop off the social network’s agenda within 24 hours, the research suggests. The study gathered a year’s worth of data on the top news stories discussed and linked to on blogs and social media sites, including seven months’ worth of tweets and a year of the most viewed news videos on YouTube. Its findings suggest a stark difference between the ‘news agenda’ in the traditional media and that embraced by social media sites and their users. Unsurprisingly the study suggests that more technology stories are shared and discussed on Twitter (43 per cent of stories via Twitter) than on blogs, YouTube and the ‘traditional press’. Politics and government and non-US, foreign news events were most shared on YouTube (47 per cent) and then blogs (29 per cent); while the traditional press dedicated a fairly even amount of coverage to politics (15 per cent), health and medicine (11 per cent) and the economy (10 per cent).


Most Online News Readers Use 5 Sites or Fewer, Study Says

The audience for news online tends not to stick to a single site — that much has been known for years. But a new study says that even with a vast array of digital choices, “promiscuous” news consumption goes only so far. Only 35 percent of the people who go online for news have a favorite site, and just 21 percent are more or less “monogamous,” relying primarily on a single Internet news source, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center, in a report to be released Monday by Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.But 57 percent of that audience relies on just two to five sites. The findings parallel studies that say that people with hundreds of television channels tend to stick to a relative handful. In the Pew survey, just 7 percent of people said they would be willing to pay for access to any news site. And even among the people who are most loyal to a single site, only 19 percent said they would pay, rather than seek free news somewhere else. But many news sites have concluded that getting even 5 to 10 percent of their readers to pay would constitute success, and many — including The New York Times — have made plans to start some kind of pay system. Analyzing data from Nielsen Online, the report also concludes that although there are thousands of news sites to choose from, a relatively small number, 199, get 80 percent of the United States traffic


Internet changes news consumption landscape

If you are like the overwhelming majority of Americans, you are likely to read or hear about this story again on TV, the radio, newspapers, and other Internet sites. A recent survey found that 92 percent of Americans get their daily news from multiple sources. The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism report, released Monday, finds that the Internet is now the third most popular news medium, trailing behind local and national television but ahead of newspapers and radio broadcasts. Almost two-thirds (59 percent) people get news from both online and offline sources, according to the report. People who get daily news from a single source account for a very small amount, according to the report. It also found that only 7 percent of adult Americans rely only on the Internet or local TV for their daily news. However, when it comes to the Internet, the report finds that 57 percent of Americans tend to have between two to five favorite Web sites where they get daily news. According to the report, 61 percent of Americans go online at least once a day to read news and 71 percent read online news at least occasionally. The Internet hasn’t become just another medium for news consumption; it has also changed how people interact with news. The report found that 33 percent of cell phone owners now access news from their phone and that 28 percent of Internet users have customized their home page to show news topics of their interest. It also found that 37 percent of users have contributed by leaving comments or disseminating what they’ve read via e-mail and social Web site such as Twitter or Facebook.