Long distance users: Inconvenient truth for online newspapers

Every newspaper website serves two groups of readers: 1) local users and 2) long-distance users (from outside the print market).

I have always been interested in the long-distance segment, primarily because I’ve been a long-distance user myself since the first Chinese-language online newspaper became available in 1996. In Hong Kong, Tucson, or Austin, I check news from Taiwan online almost everyday.

Based on a series of research, I know the long-distance group constitutes a substantial market segment for most newspapers.

What struck me as interesting (or unbelievable) is, for so long, no newspapers seem to be interested in monetizing these loyal users (yes they seem to be the most loyal group of users, according to our latest study). Many are reluctant to reveal the breakdown of local/long-distance users; some try to exclude long-distance users from the audience metrics. Why?

Here is why:

Dual-product market
Information Advertising
Dual-geographic market Local 50% 90%
Long-Distance 50% 10%
Total 100% 100%

 

According to NAA, as much as 90% of advertising revenue for online newspaper sites comes from local advertisers, who, of course are not happy about delivering ads to irrelevant non-local users.

So yes, long-distance users (myself included) are inconvenient truth for online newspapers.

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