Reuters Institute: 5 Key Figures on the Future of Media

Posted on Jan 11 2022 3:12 pm

A certain confidence in the future, a clear focus on digital, an investment in new channels, be it audio, or new platforms like TikTok and Instagram… These are the main emerging trends of the media sector this year, according to the latest report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

In this study “Journalism, Media, Technology Trend and Forecast 2022” from the Reuters Institute and the University of Oxford, 246 media professionals from around the world (CEOs, Editors, Digital Directors, Founder, etc.) were interviewed between November and December. . Good overview of the feeling of sector heads.

59% of media executives saw an increase in their income in 2021

One of the big surprises in this report is the increase in revenue recorded by many newspapers. More than half of respondents (59%) indicated that their sales have increased over the past year, taking into account both advertising and subscriptions.

The report thus confirms that the media have adapted to the new situation, by accelerating subscriptions, e-commerce and digital events. The growth of online advertising has helped support advertising revenue.

Conversely, 8% of respondents reported lower income, and 20% stabilized.

This increase in income may seem inconsequential in the midst of the pandemic and even though many media outlets have seen their audience decline.

The study identifies, in fact, that 54% of those surveyed have noticed stable or decreasing traffic on their sites. In particular, in the United Kingdom and the United States, online news consumption has declined. For example, across the Atlantic, major American dailies, particularly those that opposed the former Republican president such as the Washington Post or the New York Times, have struggled in recent months.

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Nick Newman, a researcher at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and author of the report, also points to the “depressing” nature of the news, with many consumers turning to social media and streaming services to relax.

75% of media executives are optimistic about the next year

Encouragingly, three-quarters of respondents to this survey are optimistic about the year ahead, at least in terms of their companies.

One explanation lies in the good performance of subscriptions, especially digital ones. For example, The New York Times targets the token number of 10 million subscriptions in 2025. Conversely, only 5% of managers said they are concerned about the future.

On the other hand, trust is lower in the press in general: 60% of managers say they are confident. The concern is particularly pronounced in countries where journalists themselves are under attack and where there is strong polarization in the media.

79% of presidents rely on digital subscriptions

The main focus of this year’s leaders? Obviously the subscriptions. 79% of (private) respondents put digital subscriptions at the top of their income sources for the year (compared to 74% in 2020). This is ahead of digital advertising (73% vs 81% in 2020), local advertising (59% vs 75%). Diversification strategies – last year’s mantra – are also present: events at 40% and e-commerce at 30%.

However, this focus on subscription is not without questions. Nearly half (47%) are concerned that the subscription model is pushing the press toward a richer, more educated readership. And some new headlines go in this direction: as evidenced by the recent announcement of a new media outlet founded by the former head of Bloomberg Media with a journalist from the prestigious “New York Times”, aimed at an audience with a college degree.

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80% more investment in podcasts and audio

Podcasts are the new holy grail of media. 80% of respondents to the Reuters Institute poll believe that innovation is through voice. Indeed, more and more podcasts have been launched by print media in recent years both abroad and in France.

For example, British podcast company Tortoise Media has a flagship Apple podcast in the United States. In France, the top trio is made up of “Culture générale” (Things to Know), ahead of “Transfert” (Slate) and “Bliss Stories”, according to ACPM, while “La Story” (Les Echos) reaches fourth and first in the news. Today, listening to original podcasts on media sites accounts for about 10% of downloads, according to Acast in France.

“It is clear that many publishers believe that audio provides better opportunities for engagement and monetization than investing in writing or video,” said Nick Newman. Followed by email newsletters with 70% and digital videos with 63%.

Media focus on TikTok and Instagram

Media executives are increasingly concerned about how to attract young audience . One of them is the increase in the number of popular video formats among young people. The Swedish public audiovisual group SVT is now the medium of choice for a quarter of Swedish youth (between the ages of 20 and 29), compared to just 9% in 2017, according to the report. This breakthrough has been achieved among millennials through investing in videos.

Overall, the Reuters Institute study shows a “clear change” in priorities on platforms this year. The media wants to focus more on Instagram (+54 points), TikTok (+44 points), or YouTube (+43). On the other hand, Twitter (-5) and Facebook (-8) are more pariahs.

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