It’s time to reimagine the relationship between publishers and business

Elgar Welch
By Elgar Welch | 31 August 2020
Elgar Welch

To fully realise the value of their audience data, publishers should think beyond paid media to the earned media space too, writes Streem CEO Elgar Welch.

Business is doing it tough right now, but imagine how much tougher life would be without access to trusted, credible news.

As coronavirus restrictions fluctuate at short notice, and misinformation swirls on social media, the role of news as a vital public service is starkly evident.

This is not something we should take for granted. Coronavirus may have created significant audience spikes but media is hurting due to falls in advertising. Of course, many companies are suffering even worse circumstances, but the value of news is not just in the story you read, or the interview you watch. The decisions being made based on that news - be it by governments or businesses - are hugely consequential.

The wider importance of journalism is what caused the ACCC to intervene and force the tech giants to reimburse publishers for the indirect value they gain from news. This was an important milestone. We now believe it’s the perfect time to broach a wider conversation about the relationship between news and enterprise.

Even in normal times, business relies on timely news and information every day - if not every hour - as the basis of significant commercial and legal decisions. Companies disseminate news, spin it, trade on it and watch it affect their value, often in real-time.

And yet, so much of the dialogue out there is about the influence of social. Partly that’s because technology companies have done an excellent job at putting forward deeper analytics about who has engaged with their content and its audience impact.

Publishers have long considered their influence self-evident, but now is the time to better measure and capture that, not just at a macro level but with individual target groups. To fully realise the value of their audience data, publishers should think beyond paid media to the earned media space too.

The key to unlocking this value is for more direct deals between publishers and business. This would replace the existing opaque licensing arrangements collected via the third-party Copyright Agency. Direct agreements would allow publishers to prosecute the value of their unique information to enterprise. They would also give business customers greater, more open access to news and analytics, opening up a range of potential benefits and strengthening their relationships too.

Like it or not, the pandemic has accelerated the need for new business models to guarantee long-term sustainable access to accurate news. It’s time to reimagine the relationship between publishers and business audiences. Enterprise is critical to news.

Elgar Welch is CEO of realtime media monitoring company Streem, which licenses content on behalf of many of Australia’s largest companies.

comments powered by Disqus