Online journalism start-ups in Europe are struggling, according to a report from the Reuters Institute for the study of Journalism.
Rasmus Kleis Nielsen presented the results of the study, Survival is Sucess, co-authored by Nicola Bruno, at ISOJ.
They found that journalism start-ups are facing a challenging time.
First, news is still dominated by legacy businesses, with national differences. In Germany, there is a strong but declining legacy news media, whereas in France and Italy, there is a weak and rapidly declining legacy media.
Secondly, the market for online advertising is tough, with low Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM) rates. And it is dominated by a few very large US-based players which capture much of the search and display advertising in Europe.
The journalism start-ups found it hard to survive just based on advertising. The report suggests that “though internet use and online advertising is growing rapidly across Europe, it is not clear that this alone will provide the basis for a new generation of innovative and sustainable journalistic start-ups.”
There are individual examples of success, such as Mediapart, an investigative news website operating behind a paywall in France. But the track record in Europe has been less than inspiring, said Nielsen.
The report concludes:
Based on the countries and cases examined here it seems that at this juncture the journalistic start- ups most likely to thrive are those that deliver a distinct, quality product, operate with lean organisations, have diverse revenue streams, and are oriented towards niche audiences poorly served by existing legacy media.