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The Global Expansion of Digital-Born News Media

DOI: 10.60625/risj-y0j7-ck71

In this report, we examine seven internationally oriented digital-born news media based in the US (or opening newsrooms there), with a presence in four different European markets: France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. The organisations covered include long-established digital players, newer entrants, and recently launched European enterprises.

We find:

First, several of the internationally oriented digital-born news media have used a combination of on-site and off-site distribution to build large audiences across multiple countries, generally on the basis of a much leaner organisation than most legacy media.

Second, the business model of most internationally oriented digital-born news media is based on digital display advertising, an increasingly challenging market. Pay or member models are rare. So far, most internationally oriented digital-born news media remain in investment and growth mode, and have not been consistently profitable.

Third, while expansion has enabled internationally oriented digital-born news media to expand their audiences, there are tensions between globalising and localising pressures, decisions about whether to partner or go alone, maintaining consistency in branding and tone across multiple editions and languages catering to sometimes very different markets, and the challenges of coordinating global newsrooms – challenges to which several of our case organisations are in turn developing technological responses.

Published by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism with the support of the Google and the Digital News Initiative.


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