Research carried out by Oxford University has drawn attention to the difficulties online-only web ventures face.
A report by Oxford’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Survival is Success, suggests that the development of online news enterprises is being hindered by the lack of viable business models to support novel journalism ventures. The report studied nine start-ups from Germany, France and Italy.
Dr. Rasmus Nielsen, report author, said: “Start-ups in the UK face some of the same challenge as those we have identified on the continent.”
According to the report, news start-ups are challenged by the continuous market domination of established media institutions like broadcasters and newspapers. The control of the online advertising by giants like Google also limits the start-ups’ ability to generate substantial revenue.
The report suggests that to thrive, online-only news websites need to reflect their particular environments, and not copy the style of pages that have been successful in the US, like Politico and The Huffington Post.
Sites should also produce unique content to distance themselves from competing with web pages owned by traditional media moguls.
Nielsen said: “Some start-ups have a bright future ahead of them, but most will fail. If I knew in advance which ones belonged to which category, I’d be very wealthy indeed.”