An industry in transformation : a master's report on news media economics
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The focus of this report was the modern news media and how the industry has tried to adapt in a world where most news can be gathered with a few keystrokes for free. The report is segmented into four parts and investigates both how and what kind of news is consumed. The first part of the report focuses on the different types of news aggregators and how they affect the revenue of news sites. Pay-walls are also discussed, using The New York Times’ recent decision to charge for access to their web site as a starting point. Evidence shows that besides one glaring exception (The Wall Street Journal, which is examined as an aside) the attempts to charge customers for content that was once free have largely been fruitless. The second part investigates mobile-based applications (also known as “apps”) and their economic strengths and weaknesses; topics ranging from companies’ initial successes to the ease of piracy are examined. The third part examines the meteoric, although at times numerically misleading, rise of Twitter and its potential use as a news gathering and consuming source as well as its massive potential revenue streams. The fourth part examines what types of news are currently the most consumed, and dissects the profitability (and the attributes that lead to their popularity) of four genres: lifestyle, entertainment, business, and sports. The piece also looks at the potential of community-based, hyper-localized journalism, a venture that many claim profitable yet has failed to produce concrete results. Graphs are used as supplementary material for parts one and three. Taken as a whole, the report concludes that while there may be no sure-fire winner in the news media industry, the industry has finally shaken off the complacency that lead to hundreds of thousands of journalism jobs being lost and finally started to evolve.