Reuters Institute trends and predictions 2023: revenue, news avoidance and tech turbulence –


Image of a journalist filling a story from the beach with a cocktail, in the particular style of Raymond Chandler novel, created by AI

Credit: Rendered by MidJourney. Picture from the RISJ report.

2022 was a whirlwind year for the media industry, what with the lingering impact of the pandemic, historic news events, social media turbulence and the cost of living crisis thrown into the mix.

The latest “Journalism, Media, and Technology Trends and Predictions 2023” report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ) offers a glimpse into what 2023 has in store. Will it be more of the same, or are there twists? Here are the highlights.

Hardships lay ahead with regard to all

We are in a tough economy, and that is reflected in the outlook among top editors plus CEOs. Just under half (44 per cent) feel confident about their business prospects in the particular year ahead. Moving news to on-demand and streaming services is an opportunity regarding broadcasters in particular.

The general pessimism stems from rising print publishing costs and declining ad spending. Many big decisions will be made on print titles, as Washington Post culled its 60-year magazine at the end of 2022 .

Other newspapers will have to decide which associated with their editions are worth retaining or downsizing. Regional media remains vulnerable in order to consolidation, government intervention or even migrating to online-only.

That does not mean digital-first publications have it much easier: the likes of BuzzFeed and Morning Brew are usually set in order to make significant job layoffs. Many are feeling the pinch of social media platforms not yielding the traffic they used to and their online presence suffering as a result.

Persuading subscribers to stick around

Subscriptions offer a different picture: two thirds of respondents feel confident about reader revenue and half anticipate seeing growth in their own subscriptions inside 2023.  

Four in five also suggest subscriptions will be the most important income source (up 6 percentage points through 2020), ahead of display plus native advertising which are both in decline.

The big challenge will be retaining paying clients as readers continue to stress of their disposable income. Many will counter this challenge through student deals, introductory and extended trials, or eye-watering discounts, such as six months intended for $1, offered by US publications LA Times, Chicago Times and Boston Globe.

Publishers will also seek to persuade visitors to stay along with strong pleas and calls to action (i. e. The Guardian) or increase the services included within subscriptions to make them more enticing.

Alternatively, publishers could just do advertising better, with one eye on the phase-out of Google’s third-party cookies and recognising that the high density of ads on information websites negatively impacts user experience. Bloomberg News is leading the pivot in order to premium advertisements by focusing on direct sales and abandoning programmatic marketing . Others could follow suit.

Readers tuning in on their particular terms

The last few years have got been full of historic news stories, leading to both surges of interest in information and stark news prevention. It is the latter which continues to be a headache for news publishers: almost three quarters (72 per cent) are concerned about the particular emergence associated with selective information avoidance inside 2022.

The particular true appetite of audiences is not really quite clear based on website performance alone: 42 per cent of web publishers say traffic is up, and 58 % say traffic will be the same or down.

But it is clear exactly what kind of journalism is resonating. Explanatory journalism (94 per cent) and Q& A formats (87 for each cent) are usually widely seen as effective counters to news avoidance, just in front of solutions journalism (73 per cent) despite the continued efforts of BBC News plus The Guardian in the UK to push this style.

Perhaps it is less about reporting design and more about the options audiences have. Pink News introduced a novel tool last year called Mood Control, enabling the particular reader in order to personalise which stories they can see on the website. Reader-led personalisation is the space to watch.

An industry more committed to climate

More news publishers are stepping up their commitment to covering climate, with half creating new climate teams and a third hiring more staff to cover the topic.

Related to news avoidance, there is still concern that weather reporting is too bleak to get audiences to engage with. One way to counter this is to empower readers, like with the Washington Post’s Climate Lab, which usually targets younger audiences and eco-friendly choices.

The Article is not alone within coming up with environment strategies; some 30 for each cent are proactively thinking about how in order to cover climate in new ways. Numerous also want to practise what they preach; one third associated with publications are working at reducing their own carbon footprints through their production plus reporting. Schibsted goes as far as to produce an annual sustainability statement.

Climate-bespoke training programmes, reporting guidelines and industry networks are usually among the variety of attempts seen inside the information industry to be a force pertaining to better reporting on, and practitioners of, climate plus sustainability action.

Tech and social platforms are up in the air

Elon Musk’s erratic behaviour since he took over Twitter means the particular platform is usually haemorrhaging advertising money and is in danger of starting to lose an important number associated with users. Journalists are mostly ambivalent concerning the platform – about half of those surveyed said it would be bad for journalism if Twitter imploded but close to one in five thinks it might be good for journalism in case Twitter were gone.

Although in many countries it boosts press freedom by distributing alternative sources of news, there is also a sense that journalists spend too much time upon Twitter plus bring the signature outrage culture to their reporting.

Whatever its future, few see a credible alternative to Twitter . Mastodon is not up in order to scratch and four within 10 journalists chose to put their own time and effort in to LinkedIn. Many are furthermore watching Write-up, a platform still in beta mode that hopes to bring in premium marketers and offer a micropayment system.

The future does not look better for Facebook whose user base is shrinking plus ageing. This year, the platform moves even further from news and focuses on mobile entertainment and commerce.

Younger users are ditching first-generation interpersonal platforms meant for video apps like TikTok and YouTube. This motivates publishers to invest more time and effort inside the short-video format rather than posting on Facebook or even Twitter.

Potential in podcast and newsletter revenue

The majority of publishers say that they will be focusing on podcasts and other digital audio (72 per cent), email newsletters (69 per cent), and digital video (67 per cent) this 12 months. These types prove easier to distribute on brand new social networks and afford a deeper connection with the audience.

Podcasts could finally see an increase in revenue thanks to better technology and ad distribution but more ads may spoil consumer experience, so premium ad-free options are expected to become more widespread.

Newsletters, particularly the local ones, have boomed. In the UK, Substack-powered products like the particular Manchester Mill are growing and traditional publishers like Reach are also launching new passion-based local newsletters. This happens against the backdrop of diminishing alternatives; Tweets shutting down Revue and Facebook ditching Bulletin.

AI and journalism: the jury is still out

Robots are usually not taking over newsrooms yet but the arrival of ChatGPT has “transformed the particular debate. ” The tool is capable associated with generating fairly sensible content and gives a sense of the potential of AI tools for media.

It is not really limited to text – AI can now also generate images on any topic plus in the style of any painter it offers been trained on. This is part associated with a wider trend known as “generative AI”, with computers also producing videos and even virtual worlds.

The implication designed for journalism is just not clear however. While some outlets like Semafor are generating videos within the absence of real footage in order to illustrate stories like the particular war within Ukraine, there are furthermore fears of these tools being used for misinformation.

AI can be used just for other newsroom tasks, such as summaries, text-to-speech, and image recognition for the purpose of automated tagging and subtitles. Transcriptions by machines are now routine in many newsrooms and so is the use of AI for personalisation plus content recommendation to help increase engagement.

The particular jury is usually out upon whether the marriage of artificial intelligence and journalism is a good thing. While some welcome the automation of time-consuming tasks, others worry about cheaply produced automated content further commoditising information and undermining trust.

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