“It’s all on the web!” How many times have we heard this statement, which implicitly consigns all print media to the attic of the Twentieth Century? How many clients have told us that Google News is a simple and effective way to monitor the media? As we know, the Internet revolution has, and continues to, disrupt the media monitoring industry, forcing it to continually reinvent itself to meet new standards of relevance and analysis. But to declare print dead, and the Internet the only media that matters, would be a little hasty.
In fact, a study from the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) has proved exactly the opposite. The NLA represents the interests of publishers of the national and regional press in England and manages the licensing of content and copyright for the international market. Its jurisdiction extends to newspapers’ websites, and as such the NLA is able to benchmark the content it manages (online and print editions of the same title) and compare these results with those produced by Google News.
The figures on the infographic below are extracted from NLA’s study
The first finding of the NLA study is that, for a given sample, only one in four articles are found both online and in the newspaper (26%), while 33% is available just in print and 41% only on the web. This ratio naturally varies from one publication to the next, but the trend exists: not everything in a newspaper is reproduced on its website, and vice versa.
Digging deeper, we find that 56% of the content in a given newspaper is unique and not to be found on the web while, out of all the content on a paper’s website, 61% is not included in the print edition. Of course, the amount of information available online continues to grow, with web articles also benefiting from the viral effect of social media. But the fact remains that the mainstream press keeps its own specificity.
Also of interest is the comparison of the content of the national papers’ websites with Google News. Up to 25% of the information available directly from these websites is not transmitted through Google News. There are many reasons for this difference, all related to the way the search engine works: when Google News crawls websites it doesn’t retain all of the information available. It excludes articles not dated, doesn’t re-crawl content that has been updated by publishers and doesn’t visit many subscription websites.
All this means that one cannot consider Google News as a tool with which to conduct exhaustive media monitoring. It is certainly a useful service for rough research, but comprehensive and relevant coverage remains the preserve of established monitoring agencies.
 Study conducted on the basis of 24 brands, companies and institutions (including CNN, Samsung, Deutsche Bank, Pfizer, Greenpeace, Bentley) and ten national newspaper websites over a full week. See the complete NLA study on its blog: http://blog.nla-eclips.com/ecwdocs/
 Number based on 500 articles tracked throughout July 2011. This figure varies each month: 11% in June, 24.6% in July, 7.8% in August, etc.