News Media Outlook 2018: The New Economics of Content

Arnab Goswani

On 6 February 2018, The International News Media Association (INMA) released a new report that says news media companies are discovering the emerging value of content to create data-infused, reader-based business models that are impacting corporate cultures and audience relationships. ‘News Media Outlook 2018: The New Economics of Content’ is INMA’s exclusive global look at the strategy and trends driving news media’s transformation. INMA members may download the report for free and non-members may order the report by going to

The widely read annual snapshot of a media industry in transition is written by INMA executive director and chief executive officer Earl J Wilkinson, who provides an authentic insight into the media-technology intersection based on personal visits with the world’s leading companies.

Key themes in the report include trends and strategy behind media transformation; Business model innovation and value creation; The accelerating role of data at media companies; The re-awakening of news brands amid rising skepticism about journalism; The rise of digital subscriptions, including culture change opportunities; and, What subscription success is starting to look like.

The 2018 report synthesises dozens of interviews, sessions and private interactions to create a narrative of surprising optimism. It suggests that legacy media companies are moving in the right direction, yet at an uneven pace over time. The strategic context of media is changing as consumers drown in information overload.

Reader revenue through digital subscriptions and memberships – and the new deep background necessary in acquisition, retention, engagement, and more – is emerging as the brightest possibility to replace departing print advertising in the revenue base. The Outlook report hints at the path forward with subscription stacks.

Data and big data is richly informing management and editorial decisions as companies aim to produce more content that drives engagement and creates brand value. In an ecosystem rising in complexity, brands infused with a clear personality aimed at passionate audiences are becoming a strategic imperative.

‘News Media Outlook 2018: The New Economics of Content’ is punctuated by case studies from Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, and Norway – innovation hot spots that serve as benchmarks for media companies worldwide. The 114-page report is divided into two parts – strategy and trends, as well as digital subscriptions.

The author argues that the importance of reader revenue in the broader subscription economy warrants such an emphasis. Among highlights in the digital subscription section: New context on the rise of digital subscriptions; Which models are working in which contexts (meter, freemium, hybrid); What success looks like; The concept of a subscription stack; How Scandinavia is ground zero for global best practice. The new INMA report is a strategic document from which media companies can plot their own strategies, comparing and contrasting and localising their unique realities.

INMA is a global community of market-leading news media companies reinventing how they engage audiences and grow revenue in a multi-media environment. The INMA community consists of 8,758 executives at 657 media companies in 64 countries. INMA is the news media industry’s foremost ideas-sharing network, with members connected via conferences, reports, webinars, chat, and an unparalleled archive of best practices. INMA has offices in the United States, Belgium, India, and El Salvador.

INMA has been active in India and South Asia for more than a decade. News organizations interested in membership and other information should contact INMA’s South Asia Coordinator, Priya Marwah at [email protected]

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