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.