Reports

The Evolving Role of Newsrooms in the Reader Revenue Model

20 November 2019

Free for Members

US$795 Value

Journalism and its relationship to digital subscriptions are quickly replacing advertising as the key revenue drivers of news media companies worldwide. The report, part of INMA’s Readers First Initiative, looks at the essential functions of a readers-first newsroom, why trust is key in reader revenue, what readers will pay for, and how news media leadership can guide this transition.

Six key newsrooms transitions are covered in the report

  • The essential functions of a readers-first newsroom.
  • Why readers pay (trusted content).
  • What readers pay for (premium content and experience).
  • Who pays for news.
  • Designing services worth paying for.
  • How leadership can guide this culture change.

Who should read the report?

Editors, journalists, media company CEOs, senior management, digital executives.

Authors

Grzegorz “Greg” Piechota is an academic researcher, digital transformation consultant, and writer. As a researcher-in-residence at INMA and an ex-fellow at Oxford and Harvard universities, he has studied technology-enabled disruption patterns across industries with a focus on business model innovation in news media. Greg is a former media executive with 20+ years of industry experience, beginning at Poland’s Gazeta Wyborcza in 1996 where he worked his way up from local reporter to news editor and vice president of Agora Foundation. Piechota leads the INMA Readers First Initiative.

George Brock is a journalist, consultant, and visiting professor at City, University of London, where he directed the journalism school from 2009 to 2014. Currently, he consults for newsrooms, start-ups, and research projects. He began his reporting career at the Yorkshire Evening Press and The Observer. In 1981, he joined The Times, where he served as a feature writer, features editor, op-ed page editor, foreign editor, Brussels bureau chief, European editor, managing editor, and Saturday editor.

About the Readers First Initiative

The INMA Readers First Initiative aims to surface global best practices in the art and science behind digital subscriptions for news media companies and create a road map toward the next generation of consumer monetisation. The initiative produces newsletters, Slack channel interactions, video meet-ups, reports, Webinars, and workshops for INMA members worldwide.

Detailed overview

The report gives a snapshot of where newsrooms across the world are now as they find their place in the reader revenue puzzle, using original research, case studies, and best practices from news media companies like The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Gazeta Wyborcza, Aftenposten, Amedia, Financial Times, La Diaria, Dennik N, Dagens Nyheter, The Economist, Le Monde, El País, The Wall Street Journal, The Telegraph, Quartz, The Boston Globe, Sky News, Mail & Guardian, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Condé Nast, and Grupo RBS.

The report delves into nine findings and conclusions:

  • The focus is no longer on the most profitable products but on the most profitable customers.
  • Newsrooms must embrace a service design approach as they transition into this role.
  • The value proposition of journalism is being rewritten.
  • Newsrooms must offer premium and personalised content to attract and benefit paying customers.
  • Trust and transparency are key to keeping a paying audience.
  • This is a cross-departmental initiative.
  • Data measuring the success of engagement efforts to convert readers to subscribers is vital to this transition.
  • The balance of power within news media companies is shifting, giving newsrooms a bigger piece than they have had in the past.
  • Customer-centric teams armed with data are necessary in newsrooms that lean fully into their reader revenue future.

The report offers a framework to understanding the changing roles of newsrooms as they relate to reader revenue, as well as a look into what this successful transition entails.