What will replace the news agencies

Media days: Financing the greatest challenge for agencies

Vienna - Financing the news agency will be the greatest challenge for the years to come. This is what APA managing director Peter Kropsch explained at the Austrian Media Days during a lecture on the prospects of news agencies in a rapidly changing media world.

"The classic financing model of the news agency - the exclusive financing through the sale of the basic service to media customers - has, as it stands, largely had its day," said Kropsch. Circulations and reach, which traditionally determine the price model of news agencies, went down. "The APA has already lost two cooperative members this year."

Internationally, three "business models" are currently emerging for news agencies, explained Kropsch, who will soon be giving up his role as President of the European news agencies on a rotating basis: The news agency with an almost exclusive focus on the core business of news. This type either needs a very large market or content that scales on international markets. The second form of financing is the news agency, which receives Public Money for Public Value under a kind of public law regulation. The third form is the news agency under the direct administration of the respective state. "And this is the predominant form among the 150 or so news agencies worldwide. A change of government here typically often quickly results in a change at the top of the agency. I leave the degree of independence to your interpretive power."

According to Kropsch, the APA "belongs to the small community of around 20 agencies worldwide that set themselves the task of ensuring independence through their own economic power. Since this is not possible from our core business, we have to develop other, related businesses to cover the costs of To finance overheads, innovation and infrastructure that would otherwise have to be borne by the core news agency alone. Of the approximately 70 million euros in sales of APA, the core news business accounts for almost 20 million. Put very simply, the remaining 50 million are responsible for financing independence. "

News agency products of the future would be multimedia and content networked and even closer to real time, said Kropsch. In addition, algorithms "gradually made their way into the world of news-creation". Social media also played an important role. "Social media is the biggest addition to news sources in a long time. It does not replace news agencies - the relationship is symbiotic. The reinforcing effect of whether news elicits reactions has more influence on agenda setting than the ability to gain new facts social media are friends, but those with bad manners, "said Kropsch. (APA, September 16, 2014)