This conference considered the way forward for the news industry in light of the Cairncross Review - including emerging trends and the future shape of the market.
Taking place as the Government consulted on its response to the Review, delegates considered its key findings and recommendations and the next steps for policymakers, regulators, and the industry.
Attendees considered the effects of rapid changes taking place in the market for news content both in the UK and internationally - with discussion including the latest thinking on the business models now being employed by publishers, particularly in respect of the impact on the range and quality of content being produced.
The conference also included discussion on functioning of the digital advertising market and remuneration for news publishers, in the context of the CMA market study into digital advertising and the DCMS review of the regulation of the digital advertising market.
Delegates also examined the role of major online platforms within digital ad markets - following the Cairncross Review’s call for the development of new codes of conduct governing the relationships between platforms and publishers. Areas for discussion included the extent to which these platforms are in a position of market dominance and the effect of this on the sharing of advertising revenue along the value chain.
Further sessions assessed what steps can be taken to support the provision of high-quality journalism and public interest news at national and local levels in the UK. This followed the £2m pilot innovation fund announced by the Government to support public interest journalism in the UK, and Google’s three-year partnership with Archant, with the aim of building digital news platforms in three British communities that are underserved by local news.
Delegates also discussed proposals for tax breaks for news publishers, and considered the Review’s recommendation for the creation of a new Institute for Public Interest News - including what funding model might be appropriate for such a body, and what roles and responsibilities it should bear.
Further discussion focused on emerging alternative models for the production and distribution of news content. Delegates reviewed co-operative and crowdfunded models for local news, investigative journalism and other public interest news, and assessed the impact so far of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
With the Cairncross Review recommending that the Government develop a national media literacy strategy, sessions on the agenda also looked at progress with initiatives so far and latest thinking on strategies to grow the consumption of high-quality journalism and support the public in identifying the source and provenance of online news.