NoTW backlash will transform media forever – blog empire boss

8 Jul 2011

This weekend’s closure of the News of the World following the phone hacking scandal will drive consumers in the direction of new media titles and blogs, the co-founder of international blog empire Populis believes.

“Rightly or wrongly, we’re clearly seeing the broader traditional media establishment being tarred with the same brush as the NoTW on this issue and, even with the announcement of the closure of the NoTW, we expect to see a lasting impact on the authority of many media brands that have been around for decades, or even hundreds of years,” said Luca Ascani, co-founder and chairman, Populis.

Populis interviewed 2,025 UK consumers via pollsters Opinium and found 44pc said their trust in traditional media in general had been ‘significantly undermined’ by the continuing scandal, 35pc said they were more likely to explore newer publishers as a result of the scandal, with just less than one in five (18pc) saying this was likely to permanently affect the media they choose to consume on a regular basis.

“Conversely, the authority of new media outlets has been growing for some time, with consumers welcoming the fresh voices and a broader range of specialist content that bloggers and independent publishers can provide,” Ascani said.

The death of media as we know it?

“We’re not predicting the death of media as we know it – there will always be a role for established players to report breaking news – but I do think we’re reaching a tipping point where more and more people begin to explore a wider media diet, especially when it comes to feature content.”

Dublin-headquartered Populis, which this year reported €58m revenues, was recently named one of Europe’s 25 fastest-growing digital media companies. It is growing its workforce in Dublin from 58 to 80 people.

The company today produces more than 35,000 articles and videos each month across 550 fully owned and operated websites in eight languages. Since forming, it has now produced 1m articles and videos and tracks, on average, 22m keywords. The company has key online advertising deals in place with Google, Yahoo! and

Populis was started in Rome in 2004 by Luca Ascani and Salvatore Esposito. Previously known as GoAdv, Populis was founded with just €10,000 in cash but has been profitable since day one.

Ascani concludes: “As media consumption continues to fragment across a wider range of smaller independent publishers, we’re seeing the advertising money follow, too. This has got to be good news as it stimulates new publishing ideas and gives consumers more choice, more voices, and a healthy plurality of media.”

Photo: Luca Ascani, co-founder and chairman, Populis

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years