Open Access

The non-substitutability of local news?Advertising and the decline of journalism's umbrella market model


This article addresses the challenges facing local newspapers as the digital economy transitions to artificial intelligence (AI). We interview five CEOs of Scandinavian newspaper corporations, representing small, mid-sized, and large newspaper chains. The analysis focuses on three main factors emerging from the interviews – technological transformations, digital advertising markets, and corporate enrolment – and how they relate to business model disruption and the non-substitutability of local news. The analysis is set within the framework of the digital transformation, which, for the purpose of this study, we argue consists of two phases: getting online (until about 2014), and algorithmic adaptation (the introduction of programmatic advertising and audience metrics from about 2014). The analysis concludes that as non-substitutability is lost on the advertising side of the market, this challenges the umbrella model of newspaper publishing.

Publication timeframe:
2 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Social Sciences, Communication Science, Mass Communication, Public and Political Communication