Content Mix in News: What topics do top News Publishers write about most?

By Karthik / September 17, 2018

When we think top news sources, we think New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, Fox News, Guardian etc. and our choices may be influenced by our preferences in categories (local, politics, sports, finance) as well as possibly political leaning (Liberal / Conservative). This brings forth the question - what do these news publishers write about the most?

What does the news topic mix or in content marketing terms - the content mix of a news publisher look like? We put NativeAI's NLP-engine to work on all the news stories churned out by top digital news publications, on their publicly available news articles and built out this report: Content Mix of Digital News Media.

Some findings from the News Content Mix reports:

  1. Politico (unsurprisingly) reserves the highest proportion of its news for Politics with 80% of its stories related to the topic
  2. For Political News, the other top publishers fare as follows: The Washington Post  (38%), HuffPost (32%), TIME (32%), New York Times (22%), NPR (21%), Reuters (21%)
  3. On Business News, CNBC leads with 66% of its stories related to business followed by Reuters with 55%, Forbes at 42%, Fox News at 36% and Business Insider at 27%
  4. The New York Times and The Guardian have the widest distribution of news topics, with no single top level category (which isn't location specific) taking up more than 25% of all their stories. Their content mix reports also appear to have remarkable similarities
  5. Fox News features Celebrities as its most popular topic with 40%, followed by Entertainment at 38% and Business at 36%. Politics features a distant 5th in their priorities with only 17% (the percentages could exceed a sum total of 100 as some stories may be about multiple topics)

Want to take a look for yourself? You can do that on NativeAI's study of 20 top media publishers at the link below.

Media Content Mix

What does the Media Content Mix report look like?

Content-mix-bbc news report

Above is a part of the Content Mix report for BBC News, click on it to view the complete report.

Breaking down the Media Content Mix Report

The Content Mix report has 2 parts:

1. Interactive Audience Interest Treemap:

bbc news content mix

The above interactive treemap chart shows the overview of all topics & news categories that BBC News wrote stories about in the past 30 days. You can click on each topic to view sub-topics or Audience Interests and narrow down further.

The percentages against each topic shows the percentage share of stories on that particular topic among all stories published by this website in that time period. It is of course possible that some stories deal with multiple news categories, due to which the percentages may not necessarily add up to 100.

This overview of 'Interests' that the BBC caters to is determined by analyzing news stories using NativeAI's NLP capabilities and classifying the story using our ontology of over 1 Million topics & interests.

2. List of stories:


The lower half of the content mix report showcases the list of stories which were published in the time period, AND belong to the selected set of Audience Interests. As you narrow down on interests in the treemap, you will notice that the list of stories is updated with stories related to the topics chosen.

The NativeAI Content Mix report used for this study is one of the many content analytics reports & dashboards available to digital publishers that use NativeAI, with the important difference here being that traffic and audience engagement data is not a part of this study.

In case you had any questions, we tried to answer some of them below for you:

What does a content mix report show?

A content mix report is an overview of all topics, subjects and news categories that are present in the content produced by a publication. It shows the amount of focus the publisher affords to each topic and gives an overview of their editorial prioritization strategy. On the NativeAI content mix reports, you can also click on interests to zoom into sub-topics and interests at a granular level, and review the stories associated with the respective interests.

For example, ESPN (as expected) has a very sports focused set of topics which further break down into tournaments and sports stars in each sport, while generic news publishers have a wider array of topics that they write on.

Who are the publishers covered?

We picked 20 highly popular international digital publishers for this study, including New York Times, Fox News, BBC, Daily Mail, Washington Post, Mashable, USA Today, BBC News, NPR, SFGate, Reuters, Forbes, Politico, Huffington Post, ESPN, TIme, Guardian ABC News, CNBC and CNN.

What is the time period covered and what are the scope of stories assessed ?

The reports are automated and usually reflect the stories published in the preceding 30 days. So this report is always updated, up to an accuracy of 1 day. The stories assessed are only those that are publicly available, published on their own websites and available on their feeds. Content that is behind paywalls or not a part of news feeds are not part of this report.

How can I use the content mix report to gain a competitive advantage?

When used in tandem with Analytics metrics such as number of reads, engagement quality etc. you can get a highly accurate portrait of your readers' interests. What's more, you can segment your audiences by the topics that interest them, identify traffic channel to audience interest affinities and optimize your audience development efforts.

For the editorial team, you can use the NativeAI Peer comparison report, where you can compare your own content mix against that of competitors

I'm a digital media publisher, how can I get the content mix for my news website?

Signup for a free demo of NativeAI Publisher Analytics and we will share your content mix report as well as a 30-day free trial of our platform.

If you have any feedback, thoughts or questions, please contact us using the chat option on the bottom left of your screens!

Written by Karthik / September 17, 2018