INMA's editors, initiative leaders, experts, and volunteer leaders scour the world of media to find sources of inspiration about the business of journalism: trends, subject matter expertise, data, and more. Augment your INMA experience by perusing our recommended reports from third-party sources. We have vetted these thoroughly. They are global in nature or have global ramifications, the subject matter is unique, our experts determine this is a “best of” quality, and/or the report is freely available. If the report has too much of a sales component, it doesn't make the list. If you have a recommendation for INMA Recommends, e-mail email@example.com.
Recommended reading from INMA
Newspapers Fact Sheet (U.S.)
Released: June 29, 2021 | Pew Research Center
Our view: A fact sheet on U.S. newspapers by the Pew Research Center contains an estimate on print newspaper circulation – a rarely discussed metric these days. The story isn’t good, yet Pew puts this in an 80-year context and rinses the topic with a look at those brands’ Web site unique visitors. Pew also looks at a six-decade overview of overall newspaper revenue before punctuating the fact sheet with the 16-year decline of newsroom employment in the United States. Sobering, but necessary read.
Digital News Report 2021
Released: June 23, 2021 | Reuters Institute
Our view: The 10th edition of the Digital News Report parses data from 46 markets worldwide and hones in on these key findings: trust in news grew during the pandemic, avoidance of news is growing, partisan news is rising, concerns about false information are growing even as social media remains strong, willingness to pay for news continues to inch upward though the national brands dominate, mobile aggregators continue to dominate in key geographies outside of Western countries, and podcast growth has slowed. This is mandatory reading for media professionals. It’s free and a daunting 164 pages.
6 Publishing Technologies That Will Make a Difference To Your Business
Released: June 22, 2021 | What’s New In Publishing
Our view: The pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital publishing technologies, and this report from What’s New In Publishing gives an overview of the technologies and vendors in the spaces of content analytics, first-party data, paywalls, e-commerce, newsletters, and podcasting. The report is free even if you have to provide basic information to retrieve the 29-page report. This is very relevant for publishers.
Media KPIs That Matter
Released: May 18, 2021 | Association of National Advertisers (ANA)
Our view: An intriguing look at how advertisers measure success in marketing purchases with media. Among the key findings, you will find five emerging KPIs for media, and learn about “head fakes” for media. This report very much captures the ethos among advertisers that they aren’t buying media anymore … they are buying audiences. Most of the KPIs you will expect, and others might broaden your perspective and even your own company’s storyline. If you are time-pressed, read the “key findings” at the beginning and “conclusions” at the end. This is a 28-page report that is free.
The Future of Marketplaces 2021
Released: May 12, 2021 | Adevinta Ventures and Speedinvest
Our view: The state of marketplaces internationally is the focus of this report exploring a US$5 trillion industry that more and more publishers are becoming involved in. This PDF report looks at future trends and models of online marketplaces. This is a free report, though it requires providing your e-mail address. For those of us with trust issues, Adevinta is the former marketplace business of Nordic publisher Schibsted which was spun off a few years ago.
Publishers and Commerce 2021
Released: April 9, 2021 | eMarketer
Our view: A report by eMarketer mashes up publishers and their media content with retailer and brand partners as the affiliate channel continues to evolve. What makes this timely is e-commerce’s explosive growth during the pandemic. The report also teases the old news of affiliate network platforms being last-click attributable and commission-based (bad news) yet becoming more sophisticated with multi-touch attribution tools that reward publishers throughout the purchasing funnel. This is a US$1,000 report, yet if this is a subject in your bull’s eye it may be worth it. At minimum, the executive summary is worth a read.
Future Today Institute’s 2021 Tech Trends Report
Released: March 16, 2021 | Future Today Institute
Our view: The 14th annual report breaks down 500 tech and science trends across multiple industry sectors – including a heavy lean into the media space. We strongly recommend that you download the Summary before diving deeper – excellent bulleted overview of the report. The most relevant reports for media executives: AI, scoring + recognition, new realities, work + culture + play, consumer electronics, government + policy, privacy + security, blockchain + fintech, and 5G + robots + mobility.
IAB Outlook: 2021 Digital Ad Ecosystem
Released: March 8, 2021 | Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)
Our view: This report on the state of digital advertising is particularly relevant to news media companies and worth registering with IAB. Pay particular attention to the consumer focus section, forecasted digital advertising growth, consumer purchase patterns, the impact of machines, and other digital imperatives.
The Benchmark Series: The Powerful Impact of Placement
Released: March 1, 2021 | ThinkNewsBrands
Our view: The Benchmark Series is an advertising effectiveness study from MediaScience that shows advertising printed national and metro newspapers in Australia yields 8.5 times greater unprompted recall than the run of the Internet, print + digital news combinations generate 3.5 times greater brand lift, and ads in total news are 2.2 times better remembered than run of the Internet. Requires a quick registration and includes a three-year video synthesis.
The State of Digital Media (Q1 2021)
Released: February 16, 2021 | Polar
Our view: Polar CEO Kunal Gupta has shared his insights enough with INMA that we know to pay attention -- especially when it comes to ad spend and ad tech. This 26-slide report is distillation of distillations, our favourite type of report. Gupta focuses on trends worth paying attention to this year: social equity in advertising, "less is more" marketing, user privacy, creative over cookies, trust, small businesses, platform accountability, and the future of work. Inexplicably, the landing page for this report is Gupta's LinkedIn page, and we'll update the link if that changes.
The Millennial Mindset: 10 Factors That Drive Millennials’ Consumer Behaviour
Released: February 14, 2021 | Smart Cookie Media
Our view: A relevant, succinct overview from Somi Arian of Smart Cookie Media on the Millennial mindset, punctuated by “The Millennial Disruption” documentary. The de facto executive briefing on the subject looks at these factors: abundance of choice, speed of change, the influencer culture, diversity, careers, environmental factors, economic climate, access vs. ownership, health and well-being, and entertainment. Very relatable to news media companies.
Habit-Forming News Products
Released: February 12, 2021 | Twipe
Our view: As part of its “Reinventing Digital Editions” research series, technology company Twipe distills a lot of sources to produce a report that is “an essential understanding of habit formation for news consumption on digital platforms.” The 28-page report is case study-driven, yet focuses on the habit-forming loop, applications for the news industry, the habit formation canvas for news media products, how publishers develop reader habits, and best practices for developing habits with news products. As we at INMA are attention-challenged, Twipe also includes an excellent executive summary. You have to register with Twipe to get access to the report via an instant e-mail, yet the report is worth it.
Fjord Trends 2021
Released: February 1, 2021 | Accenture
Our view: A sort of meta-trends report by Accenture, the key theme for their 2021 edition is “mapping out the new territory” after the upending of the pandemic. Among the sub-themes in the PDF report are collective displacement, do it yourself innovation, reshaping team experiences, interaction wanderlust, a product theme called “liquid infrastructure,” and a leadership portion titled “empathy challenge.” Definitely at the 35,000-foot trend level, this is a primer for media companies trying to figure the impact of the pandemic on the consumer.
The Great Unbundling
Released: January 12, 2021 | Benedict Evans
Our view: Benedict Evans produces an annual presentation on the big trends in the tech industry, yet this year’s “Great Unbundling” leaned enough into media to make it on the INMA list. This presentation looks at how COVID broke tech habits and accelerated a great deal. The China angle on smartphones (being ahead of Europe and the United States) is intriguing – as is the movement in India, too. As tech enters its second half century, what are the ramifications to it becoming more of a regulated industry?
Journalism, Media, and Technology Trends and Predictions 2021
Released: January 7, 2021 | Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism
Our view: Author Nic Newman takes us deep inside fast-changing newsrooms worldwide with a look at the COVID-19 fallout, a big-picture look at Big Tech platform regulations and likely impacts on media, impartiality, and engagement strategies. The “headline” for the report is what media leaders internationally expect for the year ahead. For INMA members focused on the revenue side of our business, you will be interested to learn what’s up and what’s down in terms of money expectations.
Edelman Trust Barometer 2021
Released: January 1, 2021 | Edelman
Our view: The Edelman Trust Barometer enters its 21st year with a global pandemic-induced look at trust across institutions – including media. This year’s report – displayed in a 58-slide PDF deck – leans into misinformation and the rising mistrust of institutions and leaders worldwide. If you want to jump straight to media issues and trust, go to Slide 23 – yet it is vital to put the “raging infodemic feeds mistrust” section into a broader context with other societal institutions.
Magna Advertising Forecasts For 2021
Released: December 7, 2020 | Magna
Our view: INMA has historically relied on Magna advertising forecasts in its News Media Outlook reports, and we continue to recommend this annual report. In this latest version, see the surprising impacts of COVID-19 and expectations for a 2021 rebound. This press release is very revealing of the report’s top-line data, which can be excellent comparison points for a media company’s expectations for the year ahead. You can purchase a subscription to Magna’s full reports and databases at the bottom of this press release.
Trust In News Project: Perspectives On Trust In News In a Changing World
Released: December 3, 2020 | Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism
Our view: What better source about trust in media than the trusted Reuters Institute Trust In News Project? Solid landing page with a link providing an overview in English, Spanish, and Portuguese to the 28-page report based on interviews with 82 journalists and senior managers at media companies in Brazil, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Good distillation, especially the takeaways at the top.
Facebook Journalism Project Subscriber Retention Suite
Released: December 1, 2020 | Facebook Journalism Project
Our view: Navigating Facebook’s many tools related to subscriber retention is an uptown problem (much like INMA!), and the Facebook Journalism Project has distilled their suite of tools and best practices into a single hub: why retention is important, subscriptions in Instant Articles, account linking, Facebook Groups, advertising on Facebook, and off-platform strategies. Don’t be fooled by this distillation: slow down and read carefully because these boil down the pain points, solutions, and always refer back to a peer media company doing it right.
The Zero Party Data Strategy
Released: November 30, 2020 | Piano
Our view: Piano really nails the complicated subject of shifting away from reliance on third-party cookies in this report available in on-site e-book and downloadable PDF. “The Zero Party Data Strategy” succinctly walks us through 25 pages of the new digital advertising landscape, the rise of zero-party data, building a better value exchange, putting data to work, the future of advertising, building for scale, and what comes next. For the attention-deprived among us, Piano also includes a one-page executive summary.
Released: November 18, 2020 | WPP
Our view: The state of data from a macro-perspective is at the heart of this report by WPP that aims to tell its story through four lenses: the dataverse, data the decision maker, rebalancing control (regulation and social attitudes), and the professionalization of data. We are dazzled by the dataverse, but find the closing “professionalisation of data” likely is of more practical use to news publishers. This is free and a quick read at 18 pages.
Hearts and Minds: Harnessing Leadership, Culture, and Talent To Really Go Digital
Released: November 12, 2020 | Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism
Our view: Lucy Kueng is one of our favourite management consultants to media companies. She speaks our language and knows media at the DNA level. She speaks regularly with INMA members. In this book, she talks about subjects that don’t get enough attention on the road to digital transformation: leadership, people management, the reality of middle management, and truths behind elevating the media organisation to digital realities. Follow this link to an executive summary of the book, along with links to the HTML, PDF, and hard-copy versions.
Innovation In Media 2020-21: Monetisation
Released: November 10, 2020 | FIPP
Our view: What we like about this 39-page report from FIPP, historically a magazine association, comes on Page 3 with a tidy business model overview relevant to any media company looking to diversify revenue streams. From this checklist of business models comes deeper dives into the 13 models: subscription, advertising, data brokers, club, e-commerce, events, non-profit, agency, brand licensing, IT provider, educator, investor, and nostalgia.
Google News Initiative Reader Revenue Playbook
Released: November 1, 2020 | Google News Initiative
Our view: Cutting across all of the Google News Initiative’s reader revenue initiatives, this constantly updated playbook is a comprehensive look at digital subscriptions: big picture introduction, establishing foundations, developing and communicating your value proposition, optimising your user funnel, and planning for long-term success. The playbook works for beginners, those with intermediate experience, and even as a checklist for veterans deeper into their journey. It even contains some benchmarking and interactive features where you can plug in your own data. We can’t recommend this enough
Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2020-2024
Released: September 20, 2020 | PwC
Our view: Zoom to 35,000 feet and breathe the rarified air of the broader media and entertainment industry to get your finger on the pulse of what’s happening across all media genres – and see where newspapers, magazines, TV, and digital fit into that broader picture. This is an excellent report for macro-trends. There is plenty of free information, notably a 28-page perspective and media segment findings. Also look out for country-by-country reports. Yet make no mistake: PwC wants you to register and pay for the bigger report which might make a lot of sense for many INMA members.
The Future of Media: A New Framework for Valuing Content
Released: September 4, 2020 | World Economic Forum
Our view: In multi-industry, multi-focused reports dating back 15+ years, the World Economic Forum looks at the broader media industry – far beyond the niche of news media – to suggest a new framework for valuing content. If you like surveying the media trends at 35,000 feet, this report is for you: new user experiences, harnessing data, “content democratized,” evolving business models, and more. WEF has created a “mini-site” for this report.
Gen Z: Attracting the Next Generation of News Consumers
Released: July 21, 2020 | CNN Newsource
Our view: Interesting report from CNN Newsource, the content syndication arm of the U.S.-based global broadcaster. This report is part of the “Latest Insights” section of CNN Newsource which looks at a hodgepodge of content and audience issues. The landing page gives you five takeaway recommendations, then bounces you to a 36-slide PDF presentation: defining Gen Z, their media behaviours, news consumption, challenges and remedies, and summary. We especially liked, inside “Challenges and remedies” the look at “combating a disengaged audience.”
Digital Media Trends Survey: COVID-19 Accelerates Subscriptions and Cancellations As Consumers Search for Value
Released: June 1, 2020 | Deloitte Center for Technology, Media & Telecommunications
Our view: This 28-page report leverage’s Deloitte’s unique vantage point on “how the pandemic has changed media consumption habits in the short-term and its potential long-term impact.” While the report dabbles in the big picture such as the new fluidity of media consumption and subscription fatigue, Deloitte puts special emphasis on streaming video subscriptions, video gaming growth, and video trends. Still worth a read to view outside of the news media box and relate trends back to our experiences. Viewable in HTML or PDF.
News Podcasts and the Opportunities for Publishers
Released: December 3, 2019 | Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism
Our view: This is likely the most authoritative strategic overview of where podcasts stand with news media companies – even if the report is pushing 2 years old. As the authors say this is “the most comprehensive study to date on the growth of news podcasts, explores their prevalence worldwide, what they are offering to audiences, and how publishers and platforms stand to benefit.” Good overview landing page punctuated by a 56-minute Webinar on the report. You can download the 48-page report on the landing page.
Small Is Beautiful: New Business Models for Digital Media
Released: May 1, 2019 | Shorenstein Center
Our view: This 47-page white paper for the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy suggests subscriptions are the way forward for news media, but that’s not the best part of this report for the media cynics among us. The first part of the white paper gives a nice overview of the old business model from whence we came – a valuable contextual piece. Kudos to detailed looks inside The Information and Axios in the United States and Prime News and Inside Paradeplatz in Switzerland.
Start Earning Trust
Released: January 1, 2019 | Trusting News
Our view: Produced by Trusting News – a project by the Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) and the American Press Institute (API) – this page is a concise look at “potential opportunities to demonstrate credibility by explaining news processes, coverage goals, and journalism ethics.” Yet pay special attention in the “Next” section to a 74-slide research deck that looks at trust in news in the United States – which is worth the entire price of admission (which is free, though consider signing up for their newsletter).