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The Production of Information in an Online World

Author

Listed:
  • Julia Cagé

    () (Sciences Po Paris, Department of Economics, 28 rue des Saints Pères, 75007 Paris, France)

  • Nicolas Hervé

    () (Institut National de l’Audiovisuel (INA), Département de la Recherche, 4 avenue de l’Europe, 94366 Bry sur Marne, France)

  • Marie-Luce Viaud

    () (Institut National de l’Audiovisuel (INA), Département de la Recherche, 4 avenue de l’Europe, 94366 Bry sur Marne, France)

Abstract

Information is costly to produce but cheap to reproduce. Who are the main providers of original news in the online world, and are they rewarded for this? What are the benefits of breaking out a story, and how does information propagate? This paper addresses these issues by exploiting a unique dataset including all online content produced by general information media outlets in France during year 2013. Tracking every piece of content produced by these outlets, we develop a topic detection algorithm to construct the set of news stories. We study the timeline of each story and distinguish between original reporting and copy-and-paste. We then merge this content data with data on investment in news gathering and daily audience to investigate the costs and benefits of information production. This paper offers a typology of online media outlets and associated business models. We first highlight the specific role played by news agencies. AFP has the largest news desk and is the main provider of original information, reflecting the use of an adequate copyright system. We then find a quasi-linear relationship between the number of journalists, the quantity of original news production, and online audience. This positive correlation hold for all the media outlets independently of their offline support; hence the relevance of a transmedia approach. However online audience does not translate into significant revenues. This illustrates the need to develop new paywall or copyright models.

Suggested Citation

  • Julia Cagé & Nicolas Hervé & Marie-Luce Viaud, 2015. "The Production of Information in an Online World," Working Papers 15-05, NET Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:net:wpaper:1505
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bertin Martens & Luis Aguiar & Estrella Gomez Herrera & Frank Muller, 2018. "The digital transformation of news media and the rise of disinformation and fake news," JRC Working Papers on Digital Economy 2018-02, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    2. Charles Angelucci & Julia Cagé & Michael Sinkinson, 2020. "Media Competition and News Diets," NBER Working Papers 26782, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Joan Calzada & Ricard Gil, 2020. "What Do News Aggregators Do? Evidence from Google News in Spain and Germany," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(1), pages 134-167, January.
    4. Sílvia Majó-Vázquez & Ana S. Cardenal & Oleguer Segarra & Pol Colomer de Simón, 2020. "Media Roles in the Online News Domain: Authorities and Emergent Audience Brokers," Media and Communication, Cogitatio Press, vol. 8(2), pages 98-111.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Internet; information production; paywall; copyright; online audience;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software

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