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Industry demands ‘fair reward’ for publishers’ social media contribution

Ashley-Highfield2-e1401302531277The trade body for the regional and national press has called for publishers to be “appropriately rewarded” for their contribution to social networks.

Research carried out by the News Media Association found eight of the 10 most shared UK websites on social media over the past year were news sites.

The study also found 47pc of all engagements with UK websites on social media featured content sourced from UK news publishers.

The figures came from social media monitoring firm NewsWhip’s analysis of the 100 top-performing UK websites.

NMA chairman Ashley Highfield, pictured above left, said: “Newsbrands contribute enormous value to social networks by investing in agenda-setting and highly trusted journalism that people want to read and share with their friends.

“It is essential that this contribution is recognised. News media publishers are not currently appropriately rewarded for their investment in news and that imbalance must be rectified if the journalism which consumers and social media giants rely on is to have a sustainable future.”

David Dinsmore, vice chairman of the NMA, added: “Journalism is at the heart of the social debate, whether it be breaking the story, verifying the story or, later, commenting on the story.

“Yet none of the growth in ad revenues is coming back to the publishers who invest billions across the globe in that content creation. News publishers are seeking a fair reward for the considerable value they add to the digital ecosystem.”


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  • September 7, 2017 at 10:04 am

    The regional press publishing companies are obsessed with giving away their journalism for free on (pretty poor) websites, delighted with the vanity publishing clicks figures, then bemoaning failing printed circulation numbers. Now they are complaining that Google is lifting content from their websites, and Facebook isn’t paying to content. Totally muddled thinking. Free content is free content, and who puts stories on Facebook? Your own staff who are told too, or your own digital/social media people.
    Less content on websites and more emphasis on the unique printed papers would have maintained a much better balance between the media. But the stable door has been held open by highly paid management for too long now, the horse is well over the horizon. Don’t blame Google and Facebook.

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  • September 7, 2017 at 10:28 am

    What’s the solution, then? I won’t hold my breath.

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  • September 7, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Well said @regionalhack.
    JP are prob the worst at giving away free news in the net and cutting staff so that all their news will end up online only. Yet the penny has not dropped with Ashley yet that digital dosent work for weekly newspapers. You cant compete with facebook Ash. You sound desperate asking them for cash. Get a grip Ashley!!!

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  • September 7, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Regional journalists are encouraged to give away content for free on social media. You can’t then start demanding money for it. And it’s a two-way street because most website hits come via Facebook so if content wasn’t shared the hits would plummet.

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  • September 7, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    TDDH, local newspapers also don’t work for local news and they haven’t for some time. It’s nothing to do with audience age or quality! It’s about changing consumer habits.

    Let’s say an electrical fault causes a major fire in your local High Street. It used to be that newspapers, radio and local TV will have covered it in great detail as soon as possible in their own medium. They have always been the verified source of factual information and gather lots of additional background information.

    Today, you get alerted to it by a friend who works over the road posting their own pictures and videos to social media and, before long, several passers-by are doing the same and sharing the hashtag. There may be stupid remarks and inaccurate information but then the local fire service and/or police begin to post official information too.

    So, where do local newspapers fit in this scenario? Do I really want to see more images hours after the event? Do I need to read a quote from the shop owner next door about being evacuated? Do I want an analysis of the cost of the damage?

    In the days of smartphones and social media, no one hears about that fire and thinks ‘I must buy the paper on my way home to find out what happened.’ Those days are gone forever! Their only option is to become part of the discussion and provide useful updates and information for free in order to remain relevant in the eyes of the local community.

    They can still be a filter of all the false information but the news, which is the actual service we provide, has to be monetised in a different way. No, digital doesn’t currently do this as well as print once did but, then again, neither does print! It therefore does makes sense to ask these platforms, which do monetise this content more successfully themselves, for a little bit of that cash. It’s no different to a newspaper paying an agency or freelance photographer to provide content.

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  • September 7, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    Don’t reporters these days get many of their stories from what has been posted on Facebook by third parties, even pictures? If so, then maybe Facebook can make a counter claim? Makes sense.

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  • September 8, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    I find myself puzzled that Ashley Highfield is demanding payment from social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Surely it should be JP that are paying them, given that his papers (I won’t call them newspapers, because they are not that) are using FB and Twitter to promote stories on their websites. Obviously using FB and Twitter won’t encourage people to buy the print version – but then again there is little that would persuade the public to suddenly start buying a paper on a regular basis again if they have previously stopped buying it for whatever reason. We all know that print circulations are dying and that most local papers will cease to exist in that form within the next five years and there’s nothing they can do to revive them.

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