A message to all NLA media access stakeholders from Managing Director, David Pugh

I have announced today to NLA staff that I have decided to retire from my role as Managing Director and will be leaving the company in the spring of 2016.

NLA media access is a great business, with a highly talented management team and dedicated staff, which has evolved rapidly in the last 8 years. The company has achieved its core mission of supporting journalism, by increasing the revenues paid to publishers every year - doubling them since 2007 – and through developing innovative licensing and database services for our media monitoring clients.

I have decided that 2016 will be a good time for me to retire, which I do with a great sense of pride in the business and the people who drive it forward, knowing that NLA media access has a clear strategy and is in great shape to grow and meet the challenges of the future.

A search for my successor is now in progress and I expect that an appointment will be made later this year or early in 2016.


NLA media access re-launches ClipShare for UK journalists

NLA explained on this blog in 2014 how ClipShare is a vital resource for publishers and journalists and outlined our plans to revamp the service for our (7,000 and growing) users. As a first step, we improved the search engine later that year, allowing users to poll results from over 45 million articles in sub-second times.

For those unfamiliar with ClipShare, it is a unique and invaluable desktop research tool for newspaper journalists and librarians. Simply add the relevant details for the search you are looking for – subject, keyword, a specific publication, a date range –  and all the stories that are found will be listed for you. The articles are made available as text or PDF, so that you view them in context.

There are other tools in the market that enable you to make historical and current searches of newspapers but none of these give you the added value of seeing the context of the articles in the same way as a ClipShare-generated PDF.

Now ClipShare has had a major facelift – an all new design. As well as being able to access the 10-year print archive of newspaper content, new benefits include:

-    Searchable web content dating back to 2010
-    Easier searching functionality
-    Cleaner search results
-    Reading list feature

Today’s launch follows a successful beta period whereby a select number of journalists at the national newspaper groups were approached to exhaustively test and provide feedback. Users predominantly described the upgraded site as “useful”, “professional”, and “modern”, and described the upgraded search functionality as “quicker”, “more flexible” and “more precise”.

We’d love to hear feedback from our other users now that we are live – see www.nla-clipshare.com  

Watch our tutorial videos below or on YouTube

We welcome new users as long as you work for a subscribing publisher. Email the team to find out more at publisherservices@nla.co.uk. If you are a journalist who would like to explore the NLA media access database, but doesn’t work for a subscribing publisher, you can use our public-access portal – www.clipsearch.co.uk




NLA century with Centaur – Money Marketing becomes 100th magazine to join eClips 

We wrote on this blog several months ago about our ambition to expand magazine content on the NLA’s eClips database, and today we report that Centaur’s Money Marketing has become the 100th magazine to sign up. Money Marketing is one of the most demanded magazines for NLA licensees.

In May 2015, we presented eClips database offering at the PPA to 20 magazine publishers. It was a confident message from NLA – we’ve seen how the 1,000+ newspapers who are already signed up to eClips have benefited through the licensing revenue uplift it provides, and the options available to publishers  – for example inbound text feeds back to publishers and outbound text feeds to aggregators, online and searchable archives for journalists, and our soon to be released syndication portal for use by magazine syndication teams. The great thing about eClips is that it’s easy for publishers. The only commitment is a PDF feed, which is already being supplied to the print sites so publishers can simply extend that process to NLA.

Publishers can still grow steady licensing revenue without eClips but they are reliant on media monitoring organisations (MMOs) finding their content through more manual efforts. An MMOs job is to find content for their clients (and quickly!) but relying on newsstand availability, scanning and searching scanned data has drawbacks – not least the fact that client keywords can be missed. eClips technology sources magazine content straight from publisher’s production systems the night before publication and offers rich searchable text for keyword searching & serves up high quality press cuttings (full colour with higher quality images) to end users. We find more content, and charge per article that’s provided to clients. More content means more royalties for participating publishers.

In the past 12 months we have been busy talking to many magazine publishers about eClips. Immediate Media, Haymarket, William Reed, Archant Life, Thomson Reuters now Centaur are just some of the brands that have joined in 2015. Discussions continue with other magazine publishing groups.

We’d love to talk to others who may be interested and present the options available. Do get in touch at publisherservices@nla.co.uk

Matt Aspinall

Production Services Manager


Spiders fly - NLA web licensing hits 30

Getting publisher permissions for the 1,000 plus newspaper and magazine websites media monitoring businesses wish to include in their online products would be a nightmare, but NLA offers a simple solution. For a fixed annual fee of less than £5 per publisher per year these businesses can scrape publisher sites and provide a wide range of services to clients.  Unsurprisingly the licence is increasingly popular and in June NLA signed the 30th media monitoring licence for web content. Through them we license several thousand businesses to use web material to support their PR and marketing activity. 

Effective licensing solutions can create bridges between users, service suppliers and publishers that benefit everyone. Licensing creates a common interest between publishers and providers to ensure a good user experience, and when that works it encourages investment. The fact NLA now delivers paywall content to many users through its eClips service is a very relevant example, as is the further investment NLA and publishers have made in providing page view data through our innovative new AIM (Article Impact Measurement) service.

The growing number and range of professional web content services is proof that the licensed market is healthy. The variety of new partners that web licensing has generated is also broadening our view of the market. While many are in the core media monitoring business (who said what about my company), there are many addressing other niche and new areas. The challenge of responding to these and to developments in the core services means we can’t sit still and need to innovate.

The list of licensees is here. We confidently expect the number of licences – and revenue to publishers - to grow.   


Why a Spotify model isn’t the answer for news publishers

In his Press gazette blog last week David Benigson of Signal suggested newspapers and NLA media access were missing a trick by not adopting a Spotify-style model – low cost, high volume - for news aggregators. A challenge is always welcome, and new ideas ditto, but I’m afraid David is not on a winner here.

A little bit of context might help first. NLA fought a four year battle with Meltwater through the courts to establish the principle that paid for use of newspaper web content is protected by copyright and the fees we proposed were reasonable. We won, and have established one of the very few licensing systems for web content. Without that win, the debate could not even start.

Now, over 30 media monitoring companies (but not, incidentally, Signal itself) are licensed and we hold around 9500 direct licences covering 200,000 businesses for use of web material. Over 1,000 newspaper websites and a further 1,000 magazine sites are covered. Publishers get 80% of the revenue, which is a low seven figure sum, about 3% of the £30m+ we paid publishers last year.  David wants to boost publisher revenue: we plead guilty to doing just that!

We very strongly doubt whether the situation for publishers would be improved if we changed our business model as David proposes. Professional media monitoring is a very well established business requirement typically of larger companies and their PR advisers – a niche service bought by about 25,000 users. There isn’t an obvious pent up demand for lower priced services from a wider audience.

If you have to monitor media for references to a specialist subject, you do it. Unlike the consumer demand for hard to get music, press monitoring is a professional requirement for a smallish group of business users. It’s not for fun. I haven’t seen my daughter – a Spotify user – claim she needs press cuttings and wants to pay £10 pm for them.

Perhaps the best proof is that Google News and many other free aggregator services have been around for years (13 in Google’s case) without any discernible impact on the core paid-for media monitoring market and with limited consumer impact. Google News is not a major traffic driver to newspaper sites; search, Twitter and Facebook are more relevant. Would applying charges make Google News more attractive? Not when I last went to business school. NLA has – with the newspapers wider advertising interests in mind, steered well clear of consumer services.

The assumption is that Google would sign up to a paid model is itself unlikely. If you haven’t been following their approach in Germany and Spain (along the lines of ‘make your content free or we drop you from search’) you will realise how unlikely that is.

Licensing web content has challenges and we welcome constructive ideas. We certainly are aware that digital pennies can in some markets be greater than analogue pounds. But – as most publishers know to their cost – pennies are sometimes just pennies.  We look forward to Signal applying for a licence and seeing how the system really can work for the publishers that David wants to help.