New INMA “Outlook” report delves into emerging value of content

By Dawn McMullan


Dallas, Texas, USA


INMA’s latest report takes a first-person yet global industry-wide view of how media companies are discovering the emerging value of content to create data-infused, reader-based business models that are impacting corporate cultures and audience relationships.

“News Media Outlook 2018: The New Economics of Content” is INMA’s exclusive global look at the strategy and trends driving news media’s transformation. 

INMA members may download the report for free and non-members may order the report by going to

The widely read annual snapshot of a media industry in transition is written by INMA Executive Director and CEO Earl J. Wilkinson, who provides an authentic insight into the media-technology intersection based on personal visits with the world’s leading companies. 

Key themes in the report include: 

  • Trends and strategy behind media transformation. 
  • Business model innovation and value creation. 
  • The accelerating role of data at media companies. 
  • The re-awakening of news brands amid rising skepticism about journalism. 
  • The rise of digital subscriptions, including culture change opportunities.
  • What subscription success is starting to look like. 

The 2018 report synthesises dozens of interviews, sessions, and private interactions to create a narrative of surprising optimism:

  • Strategic direction: Legacy media companies are moving in the right direction, yet at an uneven pace over time. The strategic context of media is changing as consumers drown in information overload. 
  • Digital subscriptions: Reader revenue through digital subscriptions and memberships — and the new deep background necessary in acquisition, retention, engagement, and more — is emerging as the brightest possibility to replace departing print advertising in the revenue base. The Outlook report hints at the path forward with subscription stacks. 
  • Big Data: Data is richly informing management and editorial decisions as companies aim to produce more content that drives engagement and creates brand value. 
  • Brands: In an ecosystem rising in complexity, brands infused with a clear personality aimed at passionate audiences are becoming a strategic imperative.

“News Media Outlook 2018: The New Economics of Content” is punctuated by case studies from Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, and Norway — innovation hot spots that serve as benchmarks for media companies worldwide.

The 114-page report is divided into two parts: strategy and trends, and digital subscriptions. Wilkinson argues the importance of reader revenue in the broader subscription economy warrants such an emphasis. Among highlights in the digital subscription section: 

  • Get new context on the rise of digital subscriptions. 
  • Which models are working in which context (meter, freemium, hybrid). 
  • What success looks like. 
  • The concept of a subscription stack. 
  • How Scandinavia is ground zero for global best practice. 

The new INMA report is a strategic document from which media companies can plot their own strategies, comparing and contrasting and localising their unique realities.

About Dawn McMullan