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Brutal data signal the differences between print and online newspapers April 18, 2009

Posted by Raquel in symposium.
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Neil Thurman presented “Taking the Paper out of News: A Case Study of Talous Sanomat, Europe’s First Online-only Newspaper.”

 

Here is the abstract to his article:

Using in-depth interviews, newsroom observation, and internal documents, this case-study presents and analyses changes that have taken place at Finnish financial daily Taloussanomat since it stopped printing on 28 December 2007 to focus exclusively on digital delivery via the web, email, and mobile. It reveals the savings that can be achieved when a newspaper no longer prints and distributes a physical product; but also the revenue lost from subscriptions and print advertising. The consequences of a newspaper’s decision to go online-only are examined as they relate to its business model, website traffic, and editorial practice. The findings: illustrate the extent to which the medium rather than the content it carries determines news consumption patterns, show the differing attention a newspaper and its online substitute command, and reveal the changes to working patterns journalists can expect in the online-only environment.

We got interested in the topic because we had access to one of the major newspapers to go off-print and online only: the Talous Sanomat from Finland.

 

Print revenues from advertising is about 90%, and by cutting out the print edition the outlet saves 52% of its costs.

Thurman stated that the online website lost 22% of unique visitors in the 5 months after they stopped printing, possibly because of the economy.

He also found out that the online version is read for a quarter of the time the print edition is read, and he mentioned an interesting concept of the new journalists, calling them “churnalists” for simply churning out second-hand information.

 

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