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Audience Flows and Platform Links between Legacy and New News Media in Spain

The next session at Social Media and Society starts with Sílvia Majó-Vázquez, whose interest is in the role and positioning of legacy news media in social media spaces, for the particular context of Spain's media ecology. Some legacy news media have recognised their own difficulties in engaging with the online space; some are significantly decreasing their offline activities and therefore need to improve their online services by comparison.

To what extent are new outlets recognised as prominent sources of information by other news providers, then; to what extend do they act as information brokers, even? This addresses two dimensions of power, as the online domain contains both media and audience networks which are interconnected with each other. For instance, there are audience flows between different news sites and platforms; at the same time, there are also (some) interconnections through hyperlinks between these platforms. (How) are these interrelated?

These networks can be analysed using authority and hub measures as generated by the HIT algorithm; it is also possible to calculate betweenness centrality measures to identify the most important information brokers in the network. A configuration multi-edge model as well as weighted betweenness centrality scores can shed further light on network structures. Data for the study come from VOSON (for hyperlink networks) as well as ComScore (for audience flows and overlaps).

From this it appears that authority and media reach are broadly related, for legacy media. This is not the case for new, born-digital media sites, and this pattern needs further analysis. The authority score for each outlet is not explained by the type of outlet (legacy or new media).

Audience flows are largely still dominated by the main legacy media; however, this looks different for younger audiences, where new platforms have much greater brokerage power. So these new platforms challenge the power monopoly of legacy media, and young audiences confer greater brokerage power.