Digital-native news media: Reach in 46 countries, top brands and user profiles in Spain


  • Jürg Kaufmann-Argueta Universidad de Navarra
  • Samuel Negredo University of Navarra


Digital-pure news publications have become competitive players in many countries, populating audience rankings in the context of a high-choice media environment. With the aim of gaining insight into the performance of digital-native news brands around the world and into how their audiences are similar or different to those of media with traditional roots in Spain, we draw on survey data for 2021 and 2022, respectively. First, we examine what proportion of online adults use any of the most popular digital-pure news brands in 24 mostly European countries and in 22 markets in America, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, and we highlight how the main digital-native brands rank among online news sources, based on their weekly audience reach. Then we compare the user profiles of the five most-used online-only news organizations in Spain, against the audiences of the top five legacy brands (N = 2028), looking at reader loyalty, gender, age, income and education levels, and political leaning. With this media-centric approach to audiences, we find that digital-native news media brands either lead (in 15 out of 46 countries) or occupy some of the top positions by weekly reach in most markets, with Nordic countries standing out as an exception. In Spain, audiences of the top digital-native brands check them slightly less frequently than the users of news sites with traditional roots. News sites in our study are slightly more popular among males, older people, and more affluent and formally educated users who can define their political stance. Nevertheless, the diversity of editorial approaches found among sites in an externally pluralistic news media market inevitably results in brands with user profiles that show exceptions to these trends.


digital journalism, online news, news publishing, news audiences, digital-native media, Spain


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