The Bricks That Build the Clicks: Newsroom Investments and Newspaper Online Performance
Tang, Yihui (Elina)
Mantrala, Murali K.
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As the world embraces the Internet for media consumption, the concept of a hybrid newspaper—a printed newspaper with a companion Web site—is becoming more prevalent. Many hope that online advertising revenue (OAR) will help newspapers make up for losses in print (offline) revenue. However, there is little research that has empirically investigated whether and how investment in the “bricks” (i.e., the newsroom staff and resources that produce news content) will help to build “clicks” (i.e., more online visitors and, subsequently, OAR). This article examines the issue via an econometric analysis of 12 years of longitudinal data from a hybrid newspaper. The results show that the basic success of the clicks model depends on the investment in the bricks of the newspaper (i.e., its newsroom). Specifically, although news gathering is a very expensive part of the news business, it is also a creator of value and directly brings in OAR in addition to print advertising revenue. Therefore, as newspapers seek to capture more OAR, they may need to increase, rather than decrease, investment levels in the newsroom.