Calzada and Gil (2016)
|Calzada and Gil (2016)
|What Do News Aggregators Do? Evidence from Google News in Spain and Germany
|Calzada, J., Gil, J.
|Calzada, J., & Gil, R. (2016). What Do News Aggregators Do? Evidence from Google News in Spain and Germany.
|Definitive , Open Access
|Key Related Studies:
|Athey, Mobius and Pal (2017)
|About the Data
|The study contains information for 151 domains, including 50 news outlets from Spain, 32 from Germany, 29 from France, and 40 from Italy.
|Secondary Data Sources:
|Data Collection Methods:
|Data Analysis Methods:
|Cross Country Study?:
|Government or policy study?:
|Time Period(s) of Collection:
"The impact of aggregators on news outlets is ambiguous. In particular, the existing theoretical literature highlights that although aggregators create a market expansion effect when they bring visitors to news outlets, they also generate a substitution effect if some visitors switch from the news outlets to the aggregators. Using the shutdown of the Spanish edition of Google News in December of 2014 and difference-in-differences methodology, this paper empirically examines the relevance of these two effects. We show the shutdown of Google News in Spain decreased the number of daily visits to Spanish news outlets by 11%, and that this effect was larger in sports outlets than in national and regional outlets. We then analyze the effect of the opt-in policy adopted by the German edition of Google News in October of 2014. Although such policy did not significantly affect the daily visits of all outlets that opted out, it reduced by 7% the number of visits of the outlets controlled by the publisher Axel Springer. Our results demonstrate the existence of a market-expansion effect through which news aggregators increase consumers’ awareness of news outlets’ contents, thereby increasing their number of visits. We find no evidence of a substitution effect in our two empirical settings."
Main Results of the Study
The main results of the study are as follows:
- The shutdown of the Spanish edition of Google News shows a significant reduction in the audience of news outlets, driven by the reduction in both search and direct visitors.
- News aggregators are an important channel for attracting visitors to news outlets. Moreover, we do not observe the existence of a substitution effect that may have increased the number of direct visits to news outlets upon the shutdown of Google News Spain.
- The findings suggest aggregators may increase direct visits to news outlets by allowing consumers to “rediscover” new sources of information.
- The examination of the German case shows that changes in the size of the excerpts the aggregators release modify the traffic news outlets receive. The decision to opt out significantly reduced the number of daily visits to Axel Springer outlets, and similar to the Spanish case, the reduction in direct and search visits drove this effect.
- Note, however, that in the German case, the reduction in search visits was also motivated by a competition effect, because Google only exhibited short excerpts for Axel Springer’s links, whereas it showed regular excerpts and images for the outlets that had opted in since the beginning of the policy.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
- News aggregators benefit news outlets, even more so when news outlets have a small brand power.
- The results of the study show that on average no outlet is negatively affected by aggregators.
- The study finds that outlets benefit from news aggregators both through an increase in traffic and increases in other performance indicators such as advertising revenues, advertising slots, and the number of advertisers.
- The findings of this study are particularly relevant for understanding the impact a new copyright legislation aiming at limiting the aggregators' access to the publishers' contents could have.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:
|Period of material under study:
|June 2014-May 2015