September 2020 Network News Report
Oxford University's Reuters College has released its September 2020 Online News Report, highlighting some of the new trends in journalism and how to balance advertising with direct readership.
Extensive surveys have shown that over the past two years, the network strategy of all news organizations has shifted from advertising to reaching a wide audience and establishing direct relationships with readers through subscriptions, memberships, access to quality articles, donations or small payments. Internet users in Europe and the United States are more likely to pay for online news.
Ultimately, this means that loyalty is becoming crucial, with newspapers offering additional "value-added" items in addition to typical focus areas such as crime, courts and transport. This has implications for platform companies such as Facebook and Google, which have established themselves as key channels for news discovery and traffic.
Follow-up surveys show that the emergence of neo-crown pneumonia has accelerated these trends. Newspaper representatives remain optimistic that, despite the dramatic changes in the typical functions of editorial departments, it is a reasonable strategy to switch to payments after declining revenues from paper and online advertising.
Building strong relationships with readers and having valuable first-party data will put local news in a better position and more likely to be a destination for high-quality, high-interest advertising if the economy eventually begins to recover. The task ahead will be to meet the need for local information at disturbing times.
The report echoes a deeper shift taking place in national and international newspapers around the world, with newspapers such as the Times of London and the New York Times seeking direct relationship strategies. The new study counters some people's concerns that subscriptions are an integrated game, even though these changes are still in their early stages.
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