WAN-IFRA report stresses innovation
When it comes to news media, industry leaders have two options. They can do their best to be innovative in an ever-changing industry, or they can fall behind and become “old news.” To help combat the latter of these two options, WANIFRA has collaborated with Francois Nel and Coral Milburn-Curtis from the Innovation Research Group to produce the World News Publishers Outlook 2017.
The 86-page report surveyed executives and decision-makers around the world in 11 languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. The report had 235 responses across 68 countries.
WAN-IFRA’s website says that the survey analyzed the following areas:
1. The profile of respondents, including the nature and activities of their firm.
2. Current revenue streams, financial performance during the past year and anticipation of future revenue sources.
3. Specific priorities for change and investment in the next year and in the medium term (three to five years).
4. How leaders experience change and risk. “The biggest risk to future success is not seen to be challenges to business models, technology disruption, advertising declines, or political instability— but firms' own reluctance to innovate,” says a WAN-IFRA summary of the report.
Related to creativity and innovation, the most important change to be implemented into news media organizations in the next year was organizational culture, according to respondents. Twenty-one percent of respondents agreed this was the most crucial change, making it the top response. The report says that when innovative individuals were allowed to spread their wings, firms saw revenue increases.
“Values manifest themselves in how people behave and spend, more than in how they speak. Truly innovative enterprises spend generously on being entrepreneurial, promoting creativity and encouraging continuous learning,” reports WAN-IFRA.
In the report WAN-IFRA outlines seven building blocks of organizational culture: resources, processes, values, behavior, climate, success and innovation role models. The survey showed that leaders who use the seven building blocks in their favor to create an innovative work environment are more likely to see revenue increase as opposed to those who do not.
The survey suggested news media leaders create a workplace that grows innovative employees by using the three Fs: fun, fail and feedback. IFRA outlines the three Fs for leaders as follows:
Fun: The fuel for creativity is humor and laughter, a great remedy for a negative work environment.
Fail: You test—and when you realize things don’t work, you iterate until it works; learning from failures is part of an innovative organization’s DNA.
Feedback: The young generation is raised on computer games with instant feedback in the shape of sounds, colors, points and levels for every move they make; they crave knowing if they are doing well. So, are you telling them — and everyone else?
The survey says that 60 percent of news executives reported a decline in traditional platforms. Finding new sources of revenue will be a big key point moving forward.
“In the short term (next 12 months), 70 percent of respondents say they will need up to a third of their income to come from non-traditional sources (i.e. traditional advertising and existing content sales) to meet company revenue expectations. That figure flips when asked to project into the medium term (3–5 years) — and nearly a quarter (24 percent) of all respondents expect more than half their income will need to come from new revenue streams,” the report says.
To see the report, go to www.wan-ifra.org/ reports/2017/09/13/world-news-publishers-outlook-2017