Fact of the Week: Only a Third of Online News is Original Content

July 2, 2018

(Ed. Note: The “Innovation Fact of the Week” appears as a regular feature in each edition of ITIF’s weekly email newsletter. Sign up today.)

Digital platforms have revolutionized the way news content is produced and consumed. For example, the Internet allows an original news article to be disseminated across the world almost instantaneously; news alert plugins enable consumers to be notified the moment something of interest is published; and some artificial intelligence technologies generate news content by aggregating disparate information.

Many online content providers generate the main bulk of their revenues by placing advertisements on their websites. This becomes a problem when approximately a quarter of original news stories are reproduced almost verbatim by other news media sites within minutes of being published, thus drawing eyeballs away from the original content and siphoning the revenue streams of original content providers.

French researchers tracked over 2.5 million online articles published in 2013 by French media outlets ranging from newspapers to television and radio, to other pure online news media. They estimate that approximately one-third of online news is original content.