knowDigital Identifies Why Most Local News Websites Fail to Succeed

Digital Media Research Firm’s Latest “Quick Look” Study Examines Consumer Perceptions of Local Newspaper and TV Station Websites

LAFAYETTE HILL, Pa.--()--knowDigital released today a new study, “Challenges in News Migration to Digital Media,” which reveals why most local news websites fail to succeed. The study includes insights on how traditional news media outlets must build, mold and image their enterprises into profitable digital businesses going forward. The study is part of an ongoing effort by knowDigital to provide research-based “Quick Looks” at various new media issues of interest by conducting interviews and surveys with “real” consumers.

“Most online news sites have failed to take ownership of the images that are most important to online news consumers,” said knowDigital president Sam Milkman, who authored the study. “These sites would benefit from a greater understanding of the images that matter most to their target consumers—whether it’s top headlines, traffic, weather, sports, deeper analysis, local events or some other offering—and greater focus on these attributes both on the sites themselves and in how they are marketed.”

knowDigital conducted a series of focus groups and one-on-one in-depth interviews among traditional and digital news media users. The focus groups and individual interviews were conducted in the Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham and Washington, DC markets with different alignments of strong and weak online brands.

Among the study’s key findings are:

  • Most online news sites are not getting credit for the images that matter most to the online news consumer.
  • Focusing on page views as the single metric to evaluate success appears misguided at this stage in the development of this category. Page views statistics provide no measure of the level of consumer engagement in any particular page, or whether those views help or hurt a site’s long-term brand image.
  • Simply re-formatting or re-purposing existing content assumes incorrectly that consumers want the same content in these digital environments as they do on TV or in print.
  • Consumers view online news sites as utilities, lacking entertaining design and production elements.
  • Users have not yet formed a deep connection with overall news sites, therefore their ability to form a bond with another vertical or sub-brand within these sites is very limited.

A streaming video presentation and the summary report from the “Challenges in News Migration to Digital Media” study are available for free at the company’s website,

About knowDigital

knowDigital (, based in Lafayette Hill, PA, provides brand research for digital media. As a division of Research Triangle Park, NC-based Coleman Insights, it has worked with dozens of traditional and digital media companies investigating a wide array of issues including the digital media habits of Country music fans, audio streaming strategies, the viability of mobile television, strategies for developing local web portals, music download packaging options and new media content distribution platforms.


For knowDigital
Scott Segelbaum, 610-389-1807

Release Summary

“Challenges in News Migration to Digital Media” is a new study released today by Lafayette Hill, PA-based knowDigital that reveals why most local news websites fail to succeed.


For knowDigital
Scott Segelbaum, 610-389-1807