Digital publications are thriving in Europe where legacy media is weak

If President Obama actually goes through with a rumored plan to start a digital media company, he might want to move to France or Spain.

That's because digital media companies tend to succeed in countries where legacy media — newspapers, broadcast and magazines — aren't particularly strong, according to a new report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

The report, which examined 12 digital organizations across France, Germany, Spain and the UK, found that, without an incumbent legacy company, media startups have more room to grow:

...Digital-born news media are generally more prominent in Spain and France, with relatively weak legacy news media, than in Germany and the UK where legacy media remain strong. In every market, they are significantly smaller in terms of reach, revenue, and editorial resources than major legacy news media. New journalistic ventures seem to have found the most success where old ones are weak, rather than where digital media are most widely used or where the online advertising market is most developed.

The report, which was written by Nabeelah Shabbir, Rasmus Kleis Nielsen and Tom Nicholls, also found that the business models for digital media companies were more or less the same as their legacy counterparts:

Some interesting journalism is being done, but the cases covered are generally not necessarily more innovative than leading legacy media in terms of their funding models, distribution strategies, or editorial priorities. This reflects their focus on journalism over business and technology.

Here's a link to the full report.

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    Benjamin Mullin

    Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism innovation, business practices and ethics.

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