Thursday
Mar022017

Real news and fake news

The controversy over fake news is generating plenty of real news too. The phenomenon of made-up stories for political or financial gain – which became an issue during the US presidential election – has now sparked interest among U.K. politicians. The Culture Media and Sport Committee last month announced an inquiry into the issue, as has the Labour Party.

But politicians might be struggling to keep up with readers, who already show signs of turning away from fake news to trusted and verified sources. The New York Times, for example, added a record 267,000 subscribers in Q4 2016, while in the UK recent ABC figures revealed paid-for sales of The Observer and The Times rose by 1.5% and 3.8% respectively in January 2017, and the Guardian saw subscriptions jump from 15,000 to 200,000 during 2016. With the spectre of (allegedly Russian) misinformation hanging over the French and German elections, we might expect this trend to continue elsewhere in Europe.

Publishers share the spirit of optimism: a study conducted by Oxford University’s Reuters Institute found that 70% of publishers believe public trust in mainstream media outlets will be strengthened by the threat of fake news, compared to just 17% who thought it would be weakened.

One should not get carried away. The newspaper industry faces many challenges, and a revolt against fake news can have difficult implications for freedom of speech too, as the current situation in the States indicates. But it is good to be reminded that, in a competitive market, readers can and will vote with their wallets, and choose to pay for something of enduring value – something that NLA media access was itself created to support: independent, high-quality journalism.

Monday
Feb202017

Tim Brooks reappointed Chairman of NLA media access 

Tim Brooks has been reappointed Chairman of NLA media access by the Board.

The NLA has significantly expanded since Tim became Chairman in 2014: we now represent the intellectual property rights of over 3,600 newspaper and magazine titles, and over 2,100 web titles. Our eClips database holds more than 95 million individual articles, and over the last 12 months, 92% of PR companies have adopted our PR Client Service Licence.

The company has also broadened its reach under Tim’s leadership, signing new partnerships with the Press Association and Huffington Post, as well as international agreements with companies in France, Sweden, Germany, Austria and Luxemburg.

The guidance that Tim provides to me and to the company, shaped by his impressive track record in publishing, has been vital to this success. He launched his first magazine, Media Week, in 1985, and subsequently rose to serve on the boards of IPC Media, Time Inc South Pacific, and Guardian Media Group. He also sits on the UK Cabinet Office Digital Advisory Board and is an Advisory Council Member of the British Library. The wealth of knowledge he has gathered during this time remains a crucial asset.

As the newspaper industry undergoes rapid changes, combined with the rise of untrustworthy sources and continuing threats to intellectual property, the work of NLA media access has never been more important. I look forward to working under Tim’s leadership as we expand our range of content and adapt to exciting developments in publishing and PR.

Wednesday
Feb082017

Greek Alliance - NLA and OSDEL join forces

NLA has concluded an agreement with Greek licensing body OSDEL which will allow OSDEL to include UK newspaper content in its current and future licences, including planned media monitoring agreements. The agreement takes effect in February 2017 and covers over 2,300 UK newspapers, websites and magazines.


George-Andrew Zannos, General Manager, OSDEL said “We welcome this endorsement of our drive to create a central clearing house for Greek business  to access and re-use news content legally. NLA represents some of the biggest brands in UK and  international news and these will add significant value to OSDEL services”.

Andrew Hughes, NLA International Director said “This is a further step forwards in our program to simplify UK content rights administration for corporate users and media monitoring organisations outside the UK. Greek MMOs and their clients will now have seamless access to powerful UK newspaper content set within the OSDEL licences. It is also a vote of confidence in OSDEL’s 2017 licensing plans”.

Tuesday
Jan242017

Past, Present and Future

Regular readers of this blog will know that 2016 marked the twentieth year of NLA media access.  We didn’t make a great deal of the anniversary, however along with the turn of the year, we did reflect on time gone by and how the industry continues to evolve.

Most importantly, if 2016 taught us anything, it was that news – proper news, written or presented by professionals – has an irreplaceable value. And since our organisation is founded on exactly that proposition, it was good to hear so many others say the same.

That is not to denigrate the extraordinary contribution that user-generated content – or citizen journalism, call it what you will – can make to news. Digital devices and fast broadband make reporters of us all. But the controversy over fake news is a reminder that the costly process of editing and checking is worth paying for.

Money matters more than ever in journalism, and we try to help. In 2016 the NLA returned another record year of revenue to publishers from our licensing operations and database services; taking our cumulative contribution over two decades to £340m.  Annually, this contribution to publishers is the equivalent to the cost of employing 1,500 journalists.

2016 saw other trends which will continue into 2017. There was a steady drumbeat of international partnerships in the year – France, Sweden, Austria and others; we continue to expand and improve our eClips and ClipShare services; and we added significantly to our repertoire of content, growing our database to an impressive 95 million articles.

Social responsibility matters to us as well: our £100k donation in 2016 took our support for the Journalism Diversity Fund past the £1 million mark since we started in 2005.

In the year ahead we will continue to innovate, improve services to MMOs, PR agencies and our other commercial partners, whilst upholding the NLA’s core purpose: supporting journalism, a cause that matters more than ever.

Tuesday
Jan172017

More international progress for NLA media access as German agreement signed

NLA media access has significantly extended its agreement with German publisher-owned media service PMG Presse-Monitor GmbH. For the first time German media monitoring organisations and their clients will be able to receive, scan and deliver UK print and web content under their agreements with PMG. NLA and PMG expect this simplification of licensing agreements will benefit users and increase revenue to rights holders.

Prior to the new agreement, which starts in January 2017, NLA offered direct licences to German MMOs. NLA also supplied UK newspaper text to PMG. Now MMOs can get the content and rights from PMG, PMG users can receive content in rich PDF format, and web scraping can be licensed. PMG can also incorporate NLA material in its media evaluation services. The current NLA offering remains in place so German MMOs can choose what best suits their clients.

NLA hopes to extend its direct licensing of German language content for UK users: Süddeutsche Zeitung and Neue Zürcher Zeitung have completed agreements with NLA and other agreements are under development.
Dr Oliver Grassy, MD, PMG said: “We welcome the addition of valuable UK content to our MMO and direct services. PMG is committed to working with the MMO market to create simple solutions for users.”

Andrew Hughes, International Director, NLA media access said: “Germany should be the biggest overseas market for UK content in Europe. Extending our partnership with PMG is the best way to simplify the often complex rules for accessing international content. We know that simplicity is crucial to encourage use, and – following similar agreements in France, Spain and elsewhere - this agreement is a big step forward.”