INMA’s new report lays out the role of newsrooms in reader revenue

Understanding the changing role of newsrooms

The New York Times newsroom
The New York Times newsroom

A recently released report by the International News Media Association (INMA) looks at the essential functions of a readers-first newsroom, why trust is vital in reader revenue, what readers will pay for, and how news media leadership can guide this transition.

‘The Evolving Role of Newsrooms in the Reader Revenue Model,’ part of INMA’s Readers First Initiative, looks at the industry’s reader revenue strategy: journalism and the newsroom.

The report gives a snapshot of where newsrooms across the world are now as they find their place in the reader revenue puzzle, using original research, case studies and best practices from news media companies like The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Gazeta Wyborcza, Aftenposten, Amedia, Financial Times, La Diaria, Dennik N, Dagens Nyheter, The Economist, Le Monde, El País, The Wall Street Journal, The Telegraph, Quartz, The Boston Globe, Sky News, Mail & Guardian, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Condé Nast, and Grupo RBS.

The report finds that the focus is no longer on the most profitable products but on the most profitable customers; newsrooms must embrace a service design approach as they transition into this role; the value proposition of journalism is being rewritten; newsrooms must offer premium and personalized content to attract and benefit paying customers; trust and transparency are crucial to keeping a paying audience; this is a cross-departmental initiative; data measuring the success of engagement efforts to convert readers to subscribers is vital to this transition; the balance of power within news media companies is shifting, giving newsrooms a more significant piece than they have had in the past; and customer-centric teams armed with data are necessary in newsrooms that lean fully into their reader revenue future.

Written by INMA Researcher-in-Residence Grzegorz (Greg) Piechota, an ex-fellow at Oxford and Harvard universities, and journalist, consultant, and visiting professor at City University of London George Brock, ‘The Evolving Role of Newsrooms in the Reader Revenue Model’ plays out the transition of the newsroom from a content factory to a service provider. Leaving behind a long history of being a factory of sorts for mass-produced content, the newsroom is now a service prodder to consumers—from being the equivalent of an iPhone to become Apple.

The report offers a framework for understanding the changing role of newsrooms, as well as a look into what this successful transition entails.

‘The Evolving Role of Newsrooms in the Reader Revenue Model’ 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.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels 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. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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