INMA today released its much-anticipated annual News Media Outlook report, providing a snapshot of a media industry still in transition yet needing to optimise the many new initiatives that now make up multi-platform companies.

“News Media Outlook 2016: The Dimension Behind the Façade” is written by INMA Executive Director and CEO Earl J. Wilkinson. This year’s report marks the 15th annual report card on the global news media industry based on feedback from INMA members and Wilkinson’s travels worldwide. 

INMA's 15th-annual News Media Outlook report is a strategic guide to the industry's next moves.
INMA's 15th-annual News Media Outlook report is a strategic guide to the industry's next moves.

The Outlook report provides news media executives worldwide with strategic guidance and perspective in fast-changing times and is considered a “must read” by senior managements.

The 105-page report is free to INMA members and available for purchase by non-members: 

Key themes in the 2016 Outlook report include: 

  • Optimisation: After seven years of adding new functionality to media companies, the year ahead is more about back-filling and optimising those competencies. 
  • Value about audience: A media brand’s differentiating value proposition is less about platforms and content and more about audience — not just its size, but its dimension. 
  • The three true levers of success: Strategic levers for success are becoming clearer each year: relations between the consumer and the brand, true motivations of ownership, and narrowing the gap between management aspiration and operation. 
  • Burning rope: Legacy and digital media are meeting in the middle of the proverbial “burning rope” faster than anticipated, and it is not a one-sided burn. 
  • What is important with technology: Keeping pace with technological change is important, yet there are only a few key principles that the bulk of a company’s employees need to understand over time. 
  • Paywall alternatives: As paywalls proliferate and publishers learn more about the value of content, smartphone and tablet app alternatives — notably in Canada — deserve careful study. 
  • Where mobile points us: Mobile will soon overtake all media in terms of time spent, with the decision to prioritise apps vs. mobile Web a surprisingly difficult one despite a 3-to-1 advantage for apps. 
  • Distributed content: There are clear priorities emerging for media companies looking to distribute content on third-party platforms. INMA believes it is situationally advantageous.

“The report’s name — ‘The Dimension Behind the Façade’ — is a metaphor found in recent history,” Wilkinson says. “It has occurred to more than one CEO I’ve visited in the past year that propping up the façade and reconstructing is taking longer and costing more money than starting over might have yielded. It is provocative and — like the report — designed to make news media executives really think through their value proposition and their road map.”