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As the smartphone becomes the defining device for online news, publishers will increasingly struggle to make money, according to the latest Digital News Report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ).

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The report finds that many news brands are struggling to cut through on mobile with access to content increasingly mediated by third-parties such as Facebook, Apple and Google. These problems are compounded by the difficulty of selling effective advertising space on small screens, and the increasing use of ad-blocker technology. More widely, news providers have seen little increase in the number of people who are willing to pay for their journalism while there is evidence of audience resistance to so-called sponsored content – seen as a possible cure to the ailing ad business in digital news.

Director of Research at the RISJ, Dr Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, said: 'Our research documents that most people like news and use news, but they don’t want to pay for it, don’t want to see advertising around it, and don’t want to see it mixed up with sponsored content. This means sustainable business models remain elusive even for those who succeed in building an audience.'

The report, based on research conducted in 12 countries, shows a quickening of the pace towards social media platforms as routes to audiences, together with a surge in the use of mobile phones for news, a decline in the desktop internet and significant growth in video news consumption online.

Read more on the University website here