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.

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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