How are publishers experimenting to meet emerging realities? - Reuters News Agency

How are publishers experimenting to meet emerging realities?

Nov 19, 2017

Most successful organizations fail to look for new things their customers want because they’re afraid to hurt their core businesses”

— Reed Hastings, ceo, Netflix.

Nowadays, the only way to thrive during disruption is to experiment and innovate. Over the years, we have followed our clients’ journeys of transformation, traversing every aspect of their operations from new technologies to reallocating resources.

We summarize some insights that Nick Cohen, director of video products at Reuters, shared at the International Newsroom Summit about how the industry is experimenting to meet emerging realities. We combine those with our general observations about industry innovation.

1. Going niche to grow audiences

Publishers are leveraging social media’s low barriers to entry to create highly targeted content brands and sub-brands.

This method of creating sub-brands, or specific channels, means publishers can diversify their offering and reach new audiences. It’s attractive to advertizers and continues to grow in popularity.

Brilio in Indonesia, was established in March 2015 by co-founders Joe Wadakethalakal and Danny Purnomo, with a mission to “entertain, inform, and empower” millennials throughout Indonesia.  Since then it has doubled its audience by 20 million unique monthly visitors and 100 million monthly page views.  Brilio’s unique approach combines social media and news reporting. With brand attribution levels so low on social media, as news brand enter social, “a granular glare of identity comes into play” according to Nick.

Muy Liebre in Argentina is targeting a more specific demographic, 17-25 years olds, and uses distributed content as a strategy to reach their audience where they are. “This creates a market where big beasts have to compete and create start-up like operations”, said Nick. Distributed content is tricky and a strong identity is required with this approach.

For us, what is remarkable across the board is the blurring of lines between broadcaster and publisher.”

— Nick Cohen, director of video products, Reuters.

2. Capitalizing on live video to boost engagement

News organizations around the world are leveraging live to boost engagement. Live streaming is a subtle merge of broadcast and digital, and presents a great opportunity for newsrooms who currently focus only on online broadcasting.

Of course live streaming has been around for a while. What is new is how publishers seek to deliver them. The Guardian tested live delivered to the lock-screen using news alerts during Trump’s inauguration. It proved very successful with 98% of users confirming they would be interested in receiving this type of alert for future breaking news events.

3. The growth of audio

As 50% of all searches will be voice initiated by 2020, major technology companies are focusing on voice as a tool through which to train AI. Consequently, voice activated technology has had its share of interest from media this year.

More immeditely promising for news media is the increasing interest in audio storytelling itself. For example, Jetty is a new podcast network from Al Jazeera. It aims to work with the unrelenting appetite for audio storytelling as part of its approach to audience acquisition and development.

At The New York Times, 60% of the revenue is now audience-based.

4. Shifting monetization focus from ads to audiences

Publishers are continuing to move from focusing on ad revenue to broader streams of revenue, such as subscriptions and commerce.

At The New York Times, 60% of the revenue is now audience-based. This is significant as a third of that revenue is non-advertizing which is an invaluable lesson for the news industry.

Monetizing audience data is not just about paywalls. Social media is a top of the funnel channel and even if it doesn’t drive direct revenue it’s taking the audience through the journey. The vast volume and granularity of the behavioral data that can be interrogated affords publishers the scope to invest in unconventional monetization opportunities.

BuzzFeed started to develop a number of content-related products that leverage the user data captured, for example, producing customized cookbooks for users of their food channel, Tasty.


5. Experimenting with mid-form and long-form video

The expansion of the video portfolio to include longer-form material is apace. More outlets are investing in a variety of mid to long-form video, such as in-depth reports, lengthy slow news, and documentary style mini-series.

Interesting to see the Washington Post’s opioid epidemic video work in the US, employing TV-style production value. For us, what is remarkable across the board is the blurring of lines between broadcaster and publisher as a result.
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