Member white paper: From Viral to Tribal: The Next Frontier of Publishing

Over the past decade, we’ve seen seismic changes in the publishing industry amid explosive growth in mobile device usage, social media and rapidly changing publisher models that increasingly require new monetization strategies. 

Comscore recently undertook research with the goal of examining digital news consumption habits for three generations of consumers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z, to understand the impact these changes have had on news behaviors. In the process, we identified differences between each of these groups and gleaned insights on what the future could look like for news organizations and publishers who must navigate continued digital disruption.

In this article we will share the key findings from the research. The complete results are available in Comscore’s new whitepaper, “From Viral to Tribal: The Next Frontier of Publishing.”

We are takers, not givers

While people say they are consuming news, the rise of social media as a source for news hasn’t had the anticipated impact in relation to news sharing and virality, with more people across generations saying they do not want to share news.

News discovery has changed

People are becoming platform loyal rather than publication loyal. Publishers have to continue to adapt to a changing media ecosystem as more consumers use social and built-in news applications as their primary source for news discovery.

But even with social media and built-in news apps on the rise, desktop should not be forsaken. Whilst it is unsurprising that mobile is a go to source for news discovery, publishers need to keep desktop on the agenda as the results found it is still an important part of the news ecosystem.

Local still matters

Despite conversations about lack of local news content, it is still the most cited source for news everyday across all generations. This opens up a world of opportunity for advertisers looking for an active audience and is a boost for local publishers.

People say they won’t pay for content

Paying for digital news content is not yet mainstream and publishers may be struggling to leverage the paywall as a new source of revenue. Across all generations one thing was clear, consumers aren’t paying for news content and say they aren’t willing to start. However, there are some examples of publishers who make it work, The New York Times being one of the biggest. The research considers what consumers are willing to pay for and how publishers can generate success through paid subscriptions.

This research which combined survey data from across the three generations with behavioral data from Comscore’s panel and census networks provides a unique insight into the future of publishing and gives publishers and advertisers actionable takeaways for working in this continuously evolving industry. Access the full whitepaper now.


Thank you for your interest in our article. We’d love to get in touch with you to find out how you are using our research. If you don’t mind us sending you an email to ask you if the article was helpful, then please enter your email address and download the report.

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