NLA media access 2018 Annual Report

After another year continuing to focus on NLA’s mission of supporting journalism, today we have published our 2018 Annual Report.

We are delighted to have achieved our 21st consecutive year of revenue growth, which is particularly relevant given the continued challenges the news media industry faced in 2017.  With 84% of NLA revenue generated being returned to publishers, we take great pride in doing our bit to support them through these times of change.

There have been many highlights over the past year, and to briefly name a few; NLA successfully launched eClips Web Specialist, a new content delivery system for users of media monitoring services which provides access to important specialist content from behind publisher paywalls.  Furthermore, our valued client base also surpassed 10,000 licensees for the first time, and we provided high quality, valued content to a greater number of media monitoring companies than ever before.

Alongside NLA’s focus on innovation for our stakeholders, we continued to support important causes such as the Journalism Diversity Fund. The JDF awards bursaries to would-be journalists wanting to train and work in the profession.  These bursaries are awarded to people from diverse backgrounds, be it socially, economically or ethnically, with one of the aims being that our newsrooms around the UK better represent their communities. Our latest donation of £100,000 brought NLA’s total contribution to the fund to over £1.2 million.

Already well in to our new financial year, our mission to support journalism through improving existing operations and exploring new opportunities has never been stronger.

For the full report click here.


NLA media access hosts PDLN international licensing conference

Delegates from over 20 countries gathered in London earlier this month at the Press Database Licensing Network (PDLN) annual conference. The conference (hosted by NLA) aims to help publishers, licensing organisations and media monitoring companies produce better international content for business. PDLN now has 26 members in 20 countries worldwide, and the admission of The New York Times as its first publisher member was notable. The event was a success, bringing in 68 attendees from across the globe with especially strong US representation from The New York Times, Burrelles Luce, Associated Press, Tribune, and CCC(Copyright Clearance Center). The conference also saw members from New Zealand, Australia, Japan and Korea. 

A dinner at Stationers Hall was a highlight for many, but sharing experiences and ideas was at the heart of the event. Speakers included:

Alice Ting, Head of Syndication and Brand Licensing at New York Times

Bénédicte Autret, Head of Strategic Relations UK and Benelux at Google

Johna Burke, President of FIBEP (also Burrelles Luce)

Caroline Morgan, Secretary General at International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO)

Elenora Rosati, Legal Expert at Southampton University

Carlos Amaral, CEO of Priberum and contributor to the EU SUMMA Project

NLA thanks everyone who attended. More detail on the event is available here and photographs can be viewed here.


Protecting local newspaper content online

This year is the 20th anniversary of Local Newspaper Week, a celebration of the work done by local outlets and journalists in creating trusted and quality news that supports local communities.

In the past 20 years there has been a shift in how news is consumed, with more and more people turning to social media and online platforms to receive their news.

With this change to digital comes copyright threats in the online sphere as well as copycat websites that adjust the content, contributing to the rise in fake news. As a YouGov poll found earlier this year, local papers are considered the most credible source of regional news, ahead of local TV and radio (trusted by 73 per cent), and search engines (43 per cent). In order to maintain this trust, there is a behind-the-scenes battle to find and take down content that has been republished without permission, credit or copyright. Over just one week, approximately 2,700 articles from our publisher partners are cut and copied onto other sites. Furthermore, these sites then sell advertising space and make money from the pirated content.

Three years ago, NLA created our Online Article Tracking System (OATS) which searches and detects these instances of copyright abuse across vast quantities of online article data. OATS can analyse every article that’s produced by an online newspaper in the last two months, and then find cases of where these articles have been copied by a particular domain. To do this manually would take days of work. As well as this, using OATS also makes reporting and removing pirated content a faster process.

OATS detects and deals with a variety of copyright abuses which range from parts-of, to full articles, as well as photographs or captions that have been copied and posted without permission. The most common types of copyright abuse are:

  • Copying / lifting text from an online article and adding a credit to the name of the original publisher. This usually occurs because there is an ignorance around copyright law and terms and conditions. In our experience, once you notify the infringing domain, they remove the content.
  • Copying / lifting parts of (or all of) the text from an online article and not adding credit / linking to the original publisher. These sites tend to design the layout to look as though it's their own original work by their own reporters.
  • Occasionally, websites that replicate a major news site in terms of design and URL. Sometimes the content is kept the same however content can be changed, often altering it slightly which gives the article a new tone or message. These instances of slightly-altered content contribute to the issue of fake news.

In most instances, we contact the domain hosting the copyrighted content directly, inform them that they are in breach of copyright and ask them to remove the content. This process reduces the chance of the same person and/or domain repeating the offence. However, if after multiple attempts we're unable to contact the owner of the domain, we contact the domain hosting provider and issue a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice to remove the content.

Three years on, OATS is becoming a vital tool for both national and regional publishers to identify and communicate with the websites infringing on copyright. In 2016, we removed a total of 95,076 articles from 679 domains with a 79.98% success rate.  In 2017, these numbers grew even further with 98,643 articles removed from 867 domains with a 91.8% success rate.

Chris Lukins, OATS Manager at NLA media access comments “OATS has fast become an important tool for publishers, both national and regional, especially with the rise of fake news. Our success rate continues to increase year-on-year and in 2018, we will continue the fight for real news and support real journalism.”

Michael Pocock, Director of Content Partnerships, at ESI Media (whose portfolio includes The Independent, Evening Standard and ES Magazine), said of working with NLA media access: “NLA discovered and removed over 13,000 individual articles that had been lifted from The Independent and Evening Standard websites across 2017 and republished on over 100 infringing websites without our permission. OATS has been a great resource for identifying these illegal usages and provides a solution that allows multiple publishers to efficiently and proactively address such copyright infringement without the extensive resource that would be necessary to cater for that individually.”  


Celebrating diversity in journalism on International Women’s Day

Andrew Hughes, International Director of NLA media access presenting Joanne Butcher, Chief Executive of the NCTJ with a cheque for £100,000 at the annual Journalism Diversity Fund celebratory event.

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD) and looking back across the events that unfolded over the past year, it’s more significant than ever. Since last year’s IWD, we’ve seen women’s marches across the globe, the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the #MeToo & #TimesUp movements unfold, gender pay gap reporting and the 100-year anniversary of women’s right to vote.

Gender equality is part of a wider issue; businesses are not as diverse as they need to be. Many studies have shown that diverse groups of people have a higher group intellect and are more profitable for businesses. In journalism, diversity allows an outlet to reduce bias, as well as bring together a group of people with varied backgrounds and experiences to be able to report on the huge variety of stories that happen every day. That is why we support the Journalism Diversity Fund (JDF), a bursary scheme which we have supported since the fund’s inception in 2005. Our last donation in was £100,000, bringing NLA’s total contribution to the fund to over £1.2 million.

The JDF was set up by the newspaper industry in 2005. The aim of the JDF is to create a route for aspiring journalists from ethnically and socially diverse backgrounds. The bursary supports them in their NCTJ Diploma in Journalism studies, recognised as the kite mark qualification in the industry which provides them with the solid foundation on which to enter  the newsroom and represent the diverse communities they report on. Along with major donations from NLA media access, the Journalism Diversity Fund is supported by Bloomberg, the BBC, DMG Media, Sky, the Press Association, the Financial Times, The Printing Charity, Thomson Reuters and Google News Lab.

Donations over the years have helped drive real change in the industry, supporting aspiring journalists from differing backgrounds. Since its launch, the Journalism Diversity Fund has awarded bursaries to 257 students, helping them start a career in journalism which many would not have found possible without the funding. This has increased the prevalence of journalists from a wide range of socially and ethnically diverse backgrounds.

One such example is Khaleda Rahman: currently working at the Daily Mail. She was awarded a JDF bursary in 2012 to complete her fast-track Diploma in Journalism with News Associates London. Commenting on her experience Khaleda said:

“Thanks to the funding I received from the Journalism Diversity Fund, I was able to get my NCTJ qualification without stressing about finances while studying. After qualifying, I worked as an intern for the JDF and helped other students working towards their NCTJ. Then, I got my foot in the door of the newspaper industry with an internship at a local newspaper that I secured thanks to the continued support I received from the JDF. From there, I went on to land a place on the MailOnline graduate scheme and have recently returned to London after stints in New York and Sydney. It’s safe to say I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today if not for the JDF!

Andrew Hughes, International Director of NLA media access commented:

“NLA media access is owned by the UK press, and our mission is supporting journalism by ensuring businesses which rely on newspaper content can do so easily and legally. The board and staff of the NLA are proud of our association with the great work done by the NCTJ Journalism Diversity Fund, and especially with the recipients of the JDF bursaries.”

When accepting the donation, NCTJ Chief Executive, Joanne Butcher, stated:

“I’d like to sincerely thank NLA media access, the Journalism Diversity Fund’s lead sponsor. This generous donation, which has been made annually since 2005, is very welcome and never taken for granted.”

The deadline for the first round of 2018 applications for the Journalism Diversity Fund bursaries is on 25th April. For the full schedule, please click here.


Past, Present and Future


NLA's mission in supporting quality journalism has never been more important.  At a time when 'fake news' is rife and the threat to publishers of digital platforms such as Google and Facebook is only increasing, NLA is returning record-breaking royalties to publishers for their content. 

In 2017 we saw revenues increase to more than £43.8 million which meant the distribution to shareholders and publishers grew by 3.7%.  Our client base surpassed 10,000 licensees for the first time, and we provided more content to more media monitoring companies (MMOs) than ever before.

We also experienced significant growth in our international business, with six new agreements allowing companies abroad to re-use UK newspaper content legally and for UK companies to do the same with foreign news.

This was all achieved on a backdrop of internal company restructuring and innovation. NLA media access has acted as a conduit between publishers, MMOs and licensees for many years, however as both industries have evolved, so must we, and considerable effort was - and will continue to be - put into new products and services NLA can offer to enhance the respective organisations’ operations.

Whilst the fruits of much of our labour will be seen throughout this year (and beyond), we did launch eClips Web Specialist in late 2017, allowing participating MMOs uninterrupted and reliable access to 14 specialist paywalled websites, with many more in development.