Is digital data a potential profit stream for the news media? Probably not. Or at least, not yet. Liang Feng, an analyst with the investment research company Morningstar, said the data collected by even the largest and most sophisticated old-media sites, like the New York Times, is less specific, and therefore less valuable to advertisers, than what other sites gather. Every time you use a search bar on Google, Twitter or Facebook, “you’re providing a direct indication of what you’re interested in,” Feng said. Meanwhile, newspaper sites use their data in the traditional way, Feng said: bragging to advertisers about how prosperous and big-spending their audience is.
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