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

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Indian Printer and Publisher’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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