The quest for sustainability in the UK national news industry is gaining ground, thanks to digital growth offsetting relentless print decline. The challenge of the print-to-digital transition has not faded, however, amidst the oncoming cliff-edge for print.

Nationals choosing the path of the walled garden on digital have out-performed those in pursuit of the ad-supported mass-market audience, whose ad yield per user is being compressed by more efficient scale platforms and the end of tracking technology.

Despite the challenges facing the news industry, the beacon of light shone by professional journalism has never been more important to humanity, to combat disinformation and misinformation on the internet, which Gen AI tools will only exacerbate.

News UK and the Mail propose to set up a joint venture, pooling most of the infrastructure and capacity of their printing operations

The proposed JV is subject to competition scrutiny, with two print sites—Thurrock and Dinnington (both DMG Media)—identified for potential closure                          

Opportunities for digital collaboration should be higher up publisher agendas more generally, as the opportunities and threats of the next digital phase evolve

 

National paid-for newspaper circulation has dipped below three million, raising thorny questions for publishers—and for distributors and retailers

News publishers can sustain print revenues to a degree by cover price increases, and also support profitability through greater efficiency in printing operations

Sustainability challenges for Smiths News and Menzies Distribution could give rise to innovative solutions, such as direct-to-retailer distribution by printer-publishers

Unprecedented growth in women’s sport is generating opportunities for publishers and advertisers. This year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup provides a chance to capitalise on the elevated coverage and interest

Women’s sport coverage must forge its own identity in the long term. News publishers play an enormous role by nourishing interest and discourse, creating brand opportunities and raising the profile of women’s sport

Articles currently must clear a higher bar for inclusion, though this will shift in the near term as coverage continues growing: variations in the type, style, and quantity of coverage highlight the progress made so far and identify areas of ongoing improvement

UK news publishers have rushed to distribute content on TikTok. They are drawn by its enormous young audience, but poor monetisation and data sharing, a lack of referrals to their own sites, and data security concerns are frustrating a full embrace of the platform.

TikTok is increasingly identified as a ‘news source’ by young people: a risk to publishers distributing content on the platform is that their brands may get lost in user feeds.

Publishers should view activity on TikTok as a strategic cost instead of a revenue source: an investment in brand awareness, and development in content and delivery formats that are becoming more widespread across platforms. Brand visibility is key to success here.

The pandemic years boosted many businesses selling services on subscription in the UK: work-from-home gave people more time and money to widen the services they enjoyed in the home, such as gaming, entertainment and music, also boosting engagement with trusted news

The cost-of-living crisis dented the number of subscribers to OTT SVOD and news services in Q2 2022. Broadband and mobile are must-have; bundles of services (e.g. Sky’s pay-TV and broadband or mobile) are more resilient; yearly and multi-year contracts prevent churn relative to monthly contracts; and services that cater to passions (e.g. football) are always need-to-have

Subscription (or supporter) media and news services reaped the demand for trusted news through the pandemic, but now face a tough challenge to their toplines from the economic downturn—and also to transition to a sustainable business model for media audiences, while advertisers are also feeling the heat

A forthcoming UK regime on the relationship between publishers and platforms, certain to include Google and Facebook, will seek to replicate the payments achieved in Australia. However, the principles, design and precise process are still to be revealed by the Government

Facebook’s News Tab and Google’s News Showcase license content from publishers (including paywalled content) and direct traffic to their sites, although industry tensions remain high

Google Search is the elephant in the room because, while Facebook is a service to its users, search is a utility: making news more important to its offering, and explaining why Google’s commitment to the news industry runs deeper—and for the long term

Apple's News and News+ service to iOS users in the UK, US, Canada and Australia has attracted many ad-funded and paywalled news publishers since its launch in 2015

Publishers’ 'opt-in' to its walled garden environment to reach underserved demographics on their own sites and raise brand awareness, and more recently, take advantage of the reduced commission on subscriptions sold through the App Store, with Apple taking 15% instead of 30%

For Apple, the priority is to improve the user experience, ultimately driving sales of iOS devices, although its engagement with news is only a minor source of revenue compared to games. We regard Apple News as being mainly a device to buttress its reputation in those selected markets where it faces political and regulatory pressures, explaining its limited geographic roll-out

On 12 May 2022, Enders Analysis co-hosted the annual Media and Telecoms 2022 & Beyond conference with Deloitte, sponsored by Barclays, Financial Times, Meta, and Deloitte Legal

With up to 500 attendees and over 40 speakers from the TMT sectors, including leading executives, policy leaders, and industry experts, the conference focused on regulation, infrastructure, and how new technologies will impact the future of the sector 

These are edited transcripts of Sessions 9 and 10 covering: the Metaverse, Authority in the Digital Age for publishers and closing remarks. Videos of the presentations are also available on the conference website