“We have to be universal, and that means being everywhere,” explains Nathalie Malinarich, Executive News Editor, Digital, at BBC News.
To learn about the changes taking place, the DPP —the media industry’s business network—launched the Tomorrow’s News initiative, gathering 50+ contributors from major news organizations across Europe, the Americas, and Australasia.
The DPP approached Avid to co-sponsor the project. As a news solution provider for three decades, Avid helps news production teams adapt to changes in how news is created and consumed. Avid’s unified media production platform, MediaCentral, connects teams, tools, and media to create more content across more channels with speed and efficiency.
The results of the discussions were compiled into a three-part comprehensive set of reports—What’s the News?, The News Business, and Making the News—that details the conversation about the newsroom of the future and how to prepare for it.
This article is the third instalment in a series of articles—summary report, newsroom collaboration, business efficiency, remote and distributed working, and cloud and hybrid working—that provide an overview of the comprehensive DPP reports.
The following provides highlights from the report and what it takes to make news and money.
Expanding beyond advertising
Diversifying revenue streams is the most popular strategy for running a successful modern news operation. News providers are exploring what revenue models work on what channels, as editorial leaders are studying how content types must change across platforms.
”All of us have got loads of hooks in the water, and we’re all going fishing,” says Sandy MacIntyre, former Vice President of News at the Associated Press and now an independent advisor to news organizations.
At VICE News, alternative revenue possibilities include serving ads, partnering with brands, FAST channels (free ad-supported streaming TV), and operating as a news production service provider.
“We are looking into revenue from Snap, as well as sponsorships and partnerships with Snap, TikTok, and Instagram,” Maral Usefi, Vice President Editorial Operations & Executive Producer, News at VICE Media. “And then we’re looking at revenue based on sales to other companies as a production company model.”
Some of the most traditional ways to make money from news are still relevant—or have rebounded due to FAST channels and Connected TVs. Craig Wilson, Product Evangelist, Media & Cloud at Avid, underscores the importance of remembering what is already in place while considering emerging models and innovations.
“In a lot of markets, linear television still makes people a lot of money,” Wilson says. “And we can’t forget that while we’re trying to enable these other innovations.”
The metadata opportunity
As news becomes increasingly digital, search and discoverability of assets is even more vital. Good tagging so that content and archive material is easily found may bring significant revenue to news operations. How news staff shares material, re-uses assets, and monetizes already produced material can make an impact.
“We are investing a lot in search. We’re trying to introduce easier ways to collaborate, whether you are producing for a digital channel, linear channel, or any of the social platforms,” Avid’s Craig Wilson says. “Much of the time the original content is the same, so we’re trying to make it easier to find for your journalists.”
Even more significant is the long tail: extracting value from material in a news archive.
“It’s about trying to maximize what you have in your archive, and then getting more value out of it. The value in an archive is only there if you can find it,” Wilson explains.
Tami Hoffman, Head of News & Archive, ITN Productions, hopes that a change in mindset among those who work in news will help with monetization.
“Probably the easiest way for me to increase my revenues would be for every producer and journalist at ITN to realize that their material has a life beyond the two-minute package that they’re doing for that night’s news at 10,” Hoffman comments. “That’s the long tail of news—that’s what helps the journalism live longer, travel further and make some proper money along the way.”
Cutting costs to boost income
Reducing costs can boost income by increasing efficiency and simplifying the speed and diversification required to produce news across platforms.
“We all need to get the cost of production massively down, because we know there isn’t as much money as there was before—or there are more outlets competing for it,” consultant Sandy MacIntyre says.
Technology innovation can make news production easier and lower expenses. For example, automation and artificial intelligence (AI)—built on robust metadata—can deliver news in multiple formats across different platforms. Automatic transcription through AI can save journalists time, enabling faster story publication.
The use of automation in news production and publishing is expected to grow. There is potential for more AI driven content creation, monitoring of audience reaction and the diversity of sources used by news operations to assure impartiality.
For example, a quarter of AP’s international video content about world leaders and personalities who appear most often in the agency’s stories can now be automatically shot listed through facial recognition. This allows producers to edit the machine’s work and frees up the augmented human for more creative tasks, enabling greater volume and content creation at unprecedented speeds from camera to customer.
“I think we’ve moved so far forward that the industry doesn’t even realize how far we’ve come. The camera captures GPS location. Transcription is leading the AI race. And there’s quite a lot of pioneering work in facial recognition, object recognition, sentiment analysis,” says consultant Sandy MacIntyre.
Collaboration and the cloud newsroom
Many news organizations have shifted to a cloud newsroom, allowing production teams to work independently and remotely, empowering editors, correspondents, and others to collaborate from any location. The cloud breaks down silos in a way that hasn’t been possible. Now, collaboration across teams is simple and fast—providing greater agility and efficiency to news production without affecting content quality.
While many organizations are realizing the benefits of the cloud, the technology’s potential has not yet been fully explored, says Avid’s Craig Wilson.
“Breaking down silos between traditionally different parts of the organization—on-air and online for example—enabling new workflows for remote and distributed teams and making it easier to share content between teams regardless of their physical location, are ways that Avid’s news solutions have developed in recent years,” Wilson says.
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