The average shelf life of a news story online is just a few hours

We all know the news cycle moves pretty fast these days. Now, new data from Streem shows just how fast.

Streem analysed the number of stories used in the 10 lead positions on a range of Australia’s biggest news websites between the hours of 6am and 10pm.

The results show the sites most likely to turn things over quickly, versus those more likely to let stories linger.

The publishers with the biggest turnover were free sites news.com.au and the Daily Mail, as well as Brisbane’s Courier Mail, who each used an average of around 60 stories per day in those lead spots.

Stories had an average lifespan of less than three hours in the top 10 positions, before being cycled down the page.

That compared to 4.5 hours at The Australian, and closer to five hours at The Guardian.

Streem Chief Customer Officer Nina Harriott said communications teams need to be aware of the media’s voracious appetite for new angles and base their strategy accordingly.

“If you’re looking to generate coverage and you’ve successfully done that, you should already be thinking, ‘What’s next?’,” Ms Harriott said.

“Meanwhile, if you’re dealing with a crisis situation you really need to be receiving live alerts as new angles will be coming thick and fast.

“If you’re waiting hours for corporate approval on a statement, the reality is the story has probably moved on by then.”

The analysis revealed that all websites were slower to update their homepages on weekends, but on some sites the difference was fairly minimal.

Stories at The Age, for example, lasted 3.2 hours during the week, vs 3.8 hours on the weekend.

The outlier on weekends was the AFR, where stories lasted an average of nearly 12 hours in the lead positions. However, the AFR site was one of the fastest to turn over during the week, where stories only lasted 3.2 hours.

The analysis was conducted over four weeks from January 30 to February 26.

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