What the rise of Internet-only news sites means for media advertising

In Singapore’s regulated media landscape (Singapore is ranked 150 on the 2014 Press Freedom Index, even lower than countries like Russia and Myanmar), it is amazing how these Internet-only news sites are thriving and continue to sprout like mushrooms.

Journalistic values aside, what is the impact for news publishers and advertisers?

There are two media giants in Singapore: Singapore Press Holdings, which owns all the newspapers except for one, lots of magazine titles, and a few radio stations; and Mediacorp, which owns all the free-to-air television stations, lots of radio stations, and some magazine titles.

There are hundreds of alternative news sites. Many did not exist in 2011. In fact, some were even set up just a few weeks leading in to this year’s elections! Here is a list of 15 such sites. They range from fully staffed, set-up sites like Mothership.sg and MustShareNews.com to individual blogs by social activists and anonymous writers.

A rough gauge from the news articles being shared on my social media feeds by friends indicate a mix of around 50/50 for articles from mainstream publications versus alternative news sites, which are available only on the Internet.

The news articles that usually go really viral are the ones from alternative news sites, though. They are more at liberty to use click-bait type headlines (e.g., “What this politician just said was political suicide,” “Five of the hottest candidates,” etc.) and sensationalise.

However, I find it really admirable that the alternative news sites are able to operate on really lean newsroom resources with a couple of dozen reporters, many whom are volunteers or interns.

This is in contrast to the fully staffed mainstream media newsrooms with hundreds of well-trained, experienced journalists. Yet, the alternative news sites are able to grab as much attention and share of voice online.

To be fair, the mainstream media’s main focus is still to sell more newspapers and get more people to watch television or tune in to radio stations. Online is something they have to do, yet cannot adequately monetise yet.

Read the full article here

Source: INMA: Sharing Ideas, Inspiring Change

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