The promiscuous news audience

The other day, when commenting on the announcement, I said "we may be heading for a world in which nothing is dominant."

Now comes a bit of research from the management-consulting firm McKinsey & Company that demonstrates what I meant. The charts are hard to read, but here's the nut graf: "The research — an online survey of 2,100 consumers in the United States — found that the respondents divide their time among as many as 16 news brands a week. 'Brand promiscuity,' it appears, is the norm. Such findings have implications for media companies as they refine their products and strategies."


My immediate reaction is that this argues for developing your niches and unique enterprise that is not easily and instantly replicated. Is that wrong or are there other obvious conclusions?

Brand promiscuity is probably the wrong term. On the web its all about creating a balance between skimming broad news for general interest and finding specialist sites which align with an individuals particular interests. I would guess that people in the survey visit the same 16 sites each month. They are not finding 16 new information sites every month.

From a brand building point of view 'Anonymous' above is right it is all about being a leader in a niche. Leadership comes from having accurate, exclusive and timely information. The best niche sites in every subject area will command brand loyalty. The news portal sites will never be able to charge for broad content because there are so many good alternatives.

There is a good article titled "The Death of Paid Content Has Been Exaggerated" -

Not sure if it's a coincidence, but if you haven't seen Dave Morgan's post for Online Spin today ("What Will The Metro Newspaper Look Like in 2020?") - it reveals the same thing, specifically about newspaper brands. One quote that caught my attention: "Media brands will matter -- but old brands will matter less." Of course, this is an _opinion_, but I think he was right on.

I don't think you should be glum. I think that this report actually shows that the future of the news business is good -- in niches. See what you think of my take on it.