Analysis: Publishers have overcooked the Kim Kardashian robbery story

Coverage analysis by Kaleida

Late Sunday night reports emerged that Kim Kardashian was robbed in Paris. Publishers were quick to cover it, and they have been publishing related stories for 3 days now.

Is the effort paying off? Not so much.

Kaleida shows that among the 12 sources we are tracking at the moment about 70 articles have been published covering the Kim Kardashian robbery. In total these articles have earned about 150,000 engagements on Facebook or 2k per article (mean average).

The BBC, for example, has published 7 related articles earning a combined total of 30,000 engagements. Their most successful story has less than 10,000 engagements. Here’s how some of the publishers are performing, so far, ranked by efficiency:

Buzzfeed News  4 stories, 24k engagements. Top story: 10k Avg: 6k 
NYT 2 stories, 11k engagements. Top story: 7k Avg: 5.5k
BBC 7 stories, 30k engagements. Top story: 10k Avg: 4.3k
CNN 6 stories, 22k engagements. Top story: 11k Avg: 3.6k
NBC News 6 stories, 19k engagements. Top story: 14k Avg: 3.2k
The Guardian 6 stories, 8.5k engagements. Top story: 8k Avg: 1.4k
The Telegraph 10 stories, 7k engagements. Top story: 2k Avg: 700
Fox News 8 stories, 1.4k engagements. Top story 1k Avg: 175

Celebrity news can open opportunities to raise issues that are core to your brand as a publisher, though there seem to be few examples of that. Most if not all of these articles seem to be placed to drive traffic, rank high in Google News and find younger readers through social. It would seem to be a story practically designed for social news channels.

Unfortunately, the low engagement numbers relative to the output doesn’t seem to justify the resource.

Just to illustrate the point let’s use an average cost per article of $500 which could include both cost of production and total cost of delivery, and then let’s use that figure to see what social efficiency looks like.

               Total cost  Cost per engagement 
Buzzfeed News $2,000 $0.08
NYT $1,000 $0.09
BBC $3,500 $0.12
CNN $3,000 $0.13
NBC News $3,000 $0.16
The Guardian $3,000 $0.36
The Telegraph $5,000 $0.71
Fox News $4,000 $2.86

It’s likely Buzzfeed has a lower cost per article than The New York Times, so we can safely say they win in this case.

Fox News, on the other hand, seems to have performed particularly poorly compared to other leading publishers on this story. They published more stories than necessary, and they are getting very little lift on social for the effort.

There are some caveats to mention, not least of which is the fact that we’re only including stories in this analysis that publishers have promoted on their web site home pages. Some of these publishers may have had a lot more success on Facebook than indicated here. They may have had success on other platforms including Twitter and Snapchat. They may have had video views that made it all worthwhile. And perhaps they are drawing stronger visitor figures to their websites than this analysis implies.

But comparing similar coverage from similar publishers we can certainly derive a few lessons.

First, Kim Kardashian may not be much of a draw for national news media sources on the web.

Second, publishers can easily overspend on a hot story and fail to get much value out of it.

The second point is the important one.

Data-informed editorial decisions become increasingly important as the story in question falls further from core brand values for a publisher. Otherwise, valuable editorial resources are getting wasted

Journalism as an industry can’t afford to waste resources on coverage that doesn’t matter.

Originally published at on October 5, 2016.