New INMA report highlights managing attention economics

Bridging publisher–platform gap

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How publishers manage the emerging platform-influenced economics of attention to grow audience and revenue is the focus of a new report released by the International News Media Association (INMA).

The report, titled ‘How News Media Wins In the Attention Economy,’ examines platform dependency, platform attention revenue, the value of attention and costs of acquiring and retaining attention.

The report synthesizes the research of Dr. Merja Myllylahti, a lecturer and researcher at Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, where she serves as project manager for AUT’s Journalism, Media, and Democracy Centre.

Key takeaways from the report include – social media attention has short-term benefits like driving traffic and subscriptions, yet that attention is not creating much revenue; publishers have become dependent on social media platforms despite risks; the news industry lacks proper valuation models for attention revenue; unreliable attention metrics from platform companies have had dire consequences; platform subscription services may generate subscription growth, yet that comes with rising costs; as news companies focus more on subscriber retention than acquisition, attention becomes a vital piece of the puzzle; and there are opportunities for news companies and platforms to cooperate on news distribution and attention monetization.

Myllylahti asks if Facebook and Google are “unavoidable partners” for news media companies and if there is a road map that publishers should explore to better secure their future readers and revenue in partnership with the platforms.

“The report raises as many questions as it answers, yet they are questions that media leaders and platform leaders are asking of themselves and each other,” said Earl J Wilkinson, executive director and chief executive officer of INMA. “Cutting through all potential metrics of success, Dr. Myllylahti asks the blunt question: ‘What revenue is left after all the costs associated with harvesting and monetising attention?’ This report advances that question and conversation in a thoughtful way — with hints of a road map for the future.”

The report is available for free to INMA members and available to non-members for US$ 795, which includes one year of association membership, all strategic reports, webinars, and access to all INMA content and peer connection tools.

For more information, visit www.inma.org/reports.

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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