Hard news sells, according to a blog post by Perfect Market. Hard news has more of an audience than so-called "softer" news, said Tim Ruder, author and chief revenue officer for Perfect Market. Perfect Market released a Vault Index and Infographic yesterday that shows that serious news stories have markets for both audience and advertisers. A reporter asked whether a Lindsay Lohan piece that could attract an advertising CPM of $2.50 drew in less revenue than an immigration story which could attract a $26 CPM or whether the Lohan story pays off well because it gets more hits, and Ruder wanted to draw attention to this issue.
"The Lindsay Lohan story did net less revenue than Immigration for news sites (sites like TMZ and other entertainment sites weren't considered in this analysis)," reports Ruder. And in fact, in a study using Google Insights, Perfect Market showed that immigration attracted more traffic in the last 90 days than Lindsay Lohan.
"Our analysis shows that quality journalism on important stories can capture both reader and advertiser demand for quality journalism around important topics.," states Ruder. He added that most news sites don't necessarily "capture the full value" of stories on immigrants or other specific issues because they "rely on sales efforts and strategies that are too broad for individual story targeting."
Ruder notes that news publishers are unlikely to be making a revenue calculation of immigration against Lindsay Lohan in the first place and in fact journalistic ethics dictate that they should not. "So it's news that the topics they see it as their mission to cover are actually producing revenue, as opposed to a common assumption that these stories are loss leaders," adds the article.
Furthermore, according to prweb.com, articles about unemployment benefits, the Gulf oil spill, mortgage rates and other topics were the top-earning topics on news sites based on advertising revenue per page views than the Lindsay Lohan sentencing and other celebrity news. Julie Schoenfield, CEO of Perfect Market, said this shows that serious journalism pays off in the long run. She said this is great insight to find out that there is revenue opportunity for difficult subjects that affect reader's lives.
Most valuable news topics of summer 2010, according to Perfect Market:
1. Unemployment Benefits
2. Gulf Recovery Jobs
3. Egg Recall
4. Gulf Oil Spill
5. Mortgage Rates
8. Social Security
9. Immigration Reform
10. Proposition 8
For this index, Perfect Market looked at more than 15 million news articles from 21 news sites in the United States, including the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Chicago Tribune from June 22 to September 21 of this year. The most valuable topics were ranked on a scale of 1 to 5.
"Topics whose stories have more traffic might rank lower because they generate less revenue per page view," states prweb.com. Ruder said without this data, publishers look at "chasing trends" to increase page views, but that is not always the best strategy to attain revenue. "And it's a disservice to their readers who want credible and important news, their advertisers who want high-value advertising placements, and their brands which live and die by the quality of their editorial coverage," he added.
Any news that hard news does actually bring in income must be welcome for news organisations who are trying to stick to their mission of providing serious news coverage.