Spain is different: Iberia’s new-media Spring

Spain’s media landscape is being fundamentally reshaped by journalist-run new media start ups – according to research by Asociación de la Prensa de Madrid (APM), the country’s professional journalists association.  Since the start of the financial crisis, nearly 300 web publications have been launched – some of which are now employing more than ten staff.

APM’s research shows that these endeavours cover interests as broad as the traditional newsstands, with sites providing international, domestic and local news, as well as sports, travel and ‘women’s interests’.  Most are websites, but at least 19 are new print publications.  The majority are backed by newly formed companies or coops, although some have been launched by associations and individuals.  Web advertising is the predominant revenue model, although there are also instances off crowd-funding, subscription services and not-for-profits.

Luis Palacio, who carried out the research for APM says: “A strength of many of these operations is that they have been launched by journalists, working together as a group.  Too many of these projects are still looking for ways to finance themselves, however.  It is interesting to see that there are attempts to get resources directly from readers but not via subscription basis.”

Palacio sees considers that one of the biggest challenges that they face is appreciating the different skills of journalism and management. Too many of these new media need a more professional approach.  To build strong journalist ventures you need well managed companies, commercially oriented and technologically updated.”

A recent article in The Guardian suggested that the impetus behind the blossoming of new media initiatives is a growing disenchantment with Spain’s establishment and national media.  Over the past five years, papers such as El País, El Mundo and La Vanguardia have appeared to be uncritical, for example of banks that many blame for the country’s economic meltdown.

Here is Luis Palacio’s selection of the most interesting of the new ventures.

Elconfidencial.com.- It is a website launched by journalists in 2000. In 2012 its turnover was €5.6 million and it has an operating profit of €0.5 million.  It has now a diversified shareholders group. Its founder and first editor lift the company four years ago to launch a new media (Vozpopuli.com). In December 2013 Elconfidencial.com had 2.3 million of unique users a month according to comScore data.

Jot Down is a lifestyle magazine with two editions: digital  and print. Launched in 2011, its income comes from cover price, advertising and other products (books). In the founders group there were not journalists. Financial data is unknown.

Eldiario.es is a digital daily of general news and information.  Launched by a group of journalists and other professionals (for instance, the former CEO of a Spanish media group, Grupo Zeta). Its editor and main leader is Ignacio Escolar, former editor of Publico, a now closed newspaper). In its first year (2013) its turnover was of €1.5 million, with a small operating profit. In December 2013 Eldiario.es had 1.0 million of unique users a month  according to comScore data.

Yorokobu is a lifestyle magazine with two editions: digital and a monthly print magazine. Launched in 2010 by a group of three journalists and a partner with a commercial background.  Admired for its design,  Yorokobu´s publishing company (Brands&Roses) now works for other companies (for instance, it currently makes the in-flight magazine of Vueling, a Spanish   air company). In 2012 Brands& Roses has a turnover of €1.3 million and small operating losses of €0.02 million.

Weblogs.- It is a blogs company launched in 2005. In 2012 its turnover was 2.5 million euro and an operating profit of €0.1 million. Weblogs´ blogs are technology (Xataka), cooking (Directo al paladar) or cars (Autopasion). They have a combined traffic of 5.1 million of unique users last December accodring to comScore data.

 

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