Impact of web traffic

The impact of web traffic on revenues of traditional newspaper publishers

A study for France, Germany, Spain and the UK

The internet era is reshaping the media industry and the way people consume and access news. Consumers use social media, search engines and news aggregators as a complementary source to newspapers’ own websites to find news. Content is proliferating and available 24 hours, with publishers now being able to reach a global audience in real time, and individuals having access to an increasing number of alternative ways to access news, including print, TV and online.

In this context, this study describes recent developments in the newspaper industry and estimates the value of web traffic to publishers in France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Recent developments in the newspaper industry

Changes in news consumption patterns are affecting publisher’s revenue mix, through the increase in online readership and the reduction in print circulation. Web traffic is a driver for publishers to generate revenues not only from advertising, but also to increase paid subscriptions and other reader revenues.

Being present on social media and news aggregators, in addition to their own websites, helps newspapers ensure their news are found by the largest possible audience across any audience touchpoint. Ultimately, the traffic volume a publisher’s website attracts is expected to be driven by multiple factors, including internal factors such as the quality of content, presentation and brand value, and external factors such as discoverability of content.

The impact of web traffic on newspaper publishers

Newspaper publishers currently derive a material share of their online revenues from advertising and therefore their financial results are affected by their ability to bring readers to their sites. Even paywall strategies rely on traffic, as bringing more visitors increases the possibility of converting them to paying customers.

In this context, this study quantifies the impact that total web traffic has on publishers’ revenues, as well as the contribution from referral traffic specifically. To do so, this study develops an econometric model that isolates the impact of the key drivers of publishers’ total revenues.

Estimated value of total web traffic