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WAN-IFRA and Asia’s top news executives set tone for Publish Asia 2018

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World News Publishing Focus
Your Guide to the Changing Media Landscape

WAN-IFRA and Asia’s top news executives set tone for Publish Asia 2018

“People must trust us,” said Mr Daniel, reminding members to stay relevant in readers’ lives.

Despite a digital marketplace dominated by Google and Facebook driving a stake into the heart of traditional print revenue, favourable evidence suggests that consumers still trust quality journalism, and are willing to pay for it. Five of the 10 countries and territories posting top news publishing revenues are from Asia: Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and Taiwan. Consumer data supports Mr Daniel’s assertion that, “If you have good journalists, you’ll have good media.” 

Legacy news publishers are not taking the digital disruption lying down.

WAN-IFRA CEO Thomas Jacob chartered the timeline created by past disruptions by portals, search engines and social media over two decades, before declaring that the next wave of disruption to journalism requires media organisations to switch to a new paradigm of providing “Stories as a Service” (SaaS). He was borrowing from the IT industry the acronym which more commonly stands for Software as a Service.

“Publishers are fighting back. We are focusing on creating engagement and monetising that engagement,” Mr Jacob said.

Ground data suggests that consumers as young as 17 are willing to pay for quality news content, and that print is not just for the technologically-challenged pre-Internet generation -- just ask India and Bangladesh, where young age groups dominate their population demographics.

Is consumer-focused engagement a sound strategy for a US$154 billion global newspaper industry that’s four times bigger than the music industry and projected to grow at 24.6 per cent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) in digital circulation? This robust growth is almost five times the rate of digital advertising’s growth of 5.4 per cent  CAGR.

While positive projections may inspire hope, the reality remains that much needs to be done to upskill and reskill the news media workforce to meet the demands of the digital age.

Knight Fellow Nasr ul Hadi, who is the India Programme Lead at the International Center for Journalists, shared findings from the first global survey on the adoption of technology in newsrooms that drew 2,700 responses from newsroom managers and journalists in 139 countries.


  • Findings suggest that global newsrooms are only starting to leverage technology and advanced digital skills to produce new forms of engaging content like data journalism, live streaming, mobile app content and VR/360 video. Newsrooms are also only just starting to harness insights from digital metrics to increase reader engagement and create new revenue streams.

  • Only five per cent of newsroom staff have degrees in technology-related fields and two-thirds of global newsrooms exercise only basic digital skills like posting stories and comments on social media, posting digital photos, while slightly more than half engage social media audiences or distribute stories across multiple digital platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

  • Forward-thinking journalists want to develop competencies in data journalism and cybersecurity, as well as in web coding, design and development. While 71 per cent of journalists use social media to find new story ideas, only 11 per cent use social media verification tools to check for fake news and data integrity.

  • These global profiles suggest that there are huge opportunities for newsrooms to increase their use of technology to address major challenges like creating quality content and developing new revenue streams. In terms of revenue sources currently, the top three money-earners are advertising, sponsored content and subscriptions. Digital-only platforms tend to attract a greater variety of revenue sources including crowdfunding and philanthropic donations.

(Edited by Joon-Nie Lau)




Joon Nie Lau's picture

Joon Nie Lau


2018-06-07 07:58

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