Beyond news at Digitalis – opportunities for news’ publishers

It’s not been a great week for the news publishing industry, with Trinity Mirror, Telegraph Media Group and DMGT all announcing cuts and write-downs.

But a new report by Reuters Institute has found that newspapers and commercial broadcasters are investing in a wide range of digital initiatives to reach new audiences and generate new revenues, such as launching niche sites and increasing their focus on digital video.

Here’s our round up of some of the good news surfacing from within the news industry…


Branded content

Four years after launching, The Atlantic’s Quartz has found success carving out a niche and publishing branded content. In a conversation with The Media Briefing, founder Jay Lauf explained that diversifying is a big goal, hinting at Quartz’s hybrid offering of consulting and branded content.

Similarly, ESI Media has integrated ‘commercial journalists’ into its branded content unit, Story Studio, and has seen revenues from branded content grow between 20 and 30 percent year-on-year.

Digital marketplaces and E-commerce

Kurt Sabathil, managing director of the German regional publisher Schwäbisch Media, has attributed its successful digital transformation to key initiatives such as building a strong brand, investing in quality journalism, and experimenting with a digital marketplace.

The Daily Mail has also recently relaunched its e-commerce site,, with over 80,000 products and a reinforced team of retail and e-commerce experts, demonstrating a willingness to invest in what it sees as a ‘key strategic initiative’.

Data is king?

While the adage ‘content is king’ generally holds true, some publishers are exploring ways in which they can better leverage and monetize their data. The Guardian is testing the separation of its audience data from its ad inventory, with select agency partners.

Instead of user data, ProPublica is monetising data sets built up from investigative journalism, initially starting with its own data but now building partnerships with other news organizations to help them clean, market and sell their data

Social media monetization

Finally, it would be wrong to discuss news without touching on the impact of social media…

Reuters Institute found that over half the people it surveyed for its 2016 Digital News Report use social media as a source of news, and for 28% of 18–24s it is their mainsource of news.

In recognition of this, Facebook is making a push to “give news organizations and other publishing partners more opportunities to make money directly on the social network,” according to Dan Rose, vice president of partnerships. As part of this push, Facebook has recently added more types of ad units and support for branded content to its Instant Articles publishing tool.

While this shift in the way news is consumed brings with it challenges related to attribution as well as monetization, there’s no denying that it also presents news organizations with positive opportunities to reach a wider public, including those who do not seek out content from publishers directly.

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