Why INMA Matters Most In 2020

Entering its 90th year, INMA (International News Media Association) with its community of 11,042 media professionals has consistently delivered ideas and peer connections to grow the audience, revenue and brand of news media companies, as a guiding light in strategy across generations. Yet something has changed. A timeliness has emerged. An urgency. Something tangible. INMA has moved from ‘nice to have’ to ‘must have’ at the world’s leading media companies. Damian Eales, President, INMA, Sydney, explains why it is so.

Afew weeks ago in Sydney, the INMA Board of Directors met to discuss the association’s direction. They approved budgets and plans for 2020, evaluated old initiatives and kicked off new ones. They were talking about the symbiotic relationship with member news companies in 70 countries. And if INMA is that microcosm, the industry has a vibrant and promising future.

Much of INMA’s energy today is focused on The Great Transformation to digital — and all of the cultural, organisational, and business model issues that come with that pivot. The members need ideas, they need context, and they may need guidance and coaching. Each of us is somewhere on the same tech-influenced journey between print-centric Pakistan and digital-centric Scandinavia.

Achievements In 2019

In the past year, INMA has layered on major new initiatives to membership resources.

Readers first initiative: INMA has surfaced global best practices in the art and science behind digital subscriptions for news media companies and created a road map toward the next generation of consumer monetisation. A community of digital subscription specialists has emerged under the INMA umbrella, enjoying 12 newsletters, 12 video meet-ups, three new strategic reports, workshops, a Slack Channel, and more. We have leaned heavily into customer value nurturing, consumer business innovation, newsroom transformation, and local media subscription opportunities.

Digital platform initiative: INMA now has invested heavily in better understanding the legal and regulatory environments, the 10 key issues impacting the relationship, and how best to tie this knowledge back to a strategic playbook that impacts the publisher’s business. The association has produced a major strategic report on this and developed a regular blog aiming to shine a spotlight on what is happening with Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and others. When we look on 2019-2021, I believe we will see this as the No. 1 issue confronting the future success of news media.

Topical and regional newsletters: INMA launched 18 topical, genre, and regional newsletters aimed at surfacing its rich content universe, and it has been reported that 1,134 people have signed up for at least one — and 177 have signed up for 10+!

Member personalisation: INMA introduced ‘areas of expertise’ and ‘areas of interest’ to each member’s profile, and more than 1,200 people have provided this information. That means you can search for people with similar interests and expertise and even filter those people by region, company size, company genre, and more.

Webinars: INMA went from zero Webinars two years ago to 31 in 2019. And they have become one of the association’s most popular benefits: 2,691 people have registered and participated in at least one Webinar, and 113 have participated in 10+ in the past 24 months.

Study tours: Five years ago, INMA started study tours timidly with one per year in Silicon Valley. In 2019, the association conducted tours in Oslo/Stockholm, New York, Hamburg/Berlin, New Delhi, and Silicon Valley. These are the deepest, richest experiences you can share with INMA, and it’s heartening to see the world’s major media companies have come to agree — sending people year after year.

Onboarding new members: INMA has created an eight-step new member onboarding process that, frankly, could be copied and used by many member media companies. Several new members have inquired about this INMA initiative. To give you one snapshot in time, through the first 10 months of 2019, 1,840 people were welcomed to INMA and encouraged to participate, yielding a 41.2 percent unique open rate and a 20 percent unique click rate. Those are numbers most publishers would be proud to have in their digital subscriber onboarding.

Finally, 19 companies became corporate members of INMA in 2019: Adria Media Group, Serbia; AFP (Agence France-Presse); Alma Media, Finland; Atlanta Journal-Constitution, US; Australian Community Media; Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC); cXense, Norway, Facebook; FTI Consulting, United States; Guardian Media Group, UK; Hanza Media, Croatia; The HideAway Report, US; Korea Press Foundation; Metro Market Media, US; Press Trust of India; Prisa, Spain; Roularta Media Group, Belgium; Sonoma Media Investments, US; and Viafoura, Canada.

What’s Ahead For 2020?

A big challenge for INMA in the next year is keeping all of these new initiatives updated and moving ahead. The INMA World Congress of News Media in Paris (April 23-28) is the best executive-level overview of the strategy, trends, and best practices of our industry — bar none. Meanwhile, INMA’s third-annual Media Subscriptions Week in New York (February 25-28) has a robust programme and study tour already put together for that active community within INMA building digital subscriptions and reader revenue.

In New Delhi, INMA will hold South Asia News Media Conference (August 6-7) — and split off the study tour this year to Bangalore later in the year. The Latin America News Media Conference will be September 9-11 in Lima, with a special emphasis on the innovative Peruvian market. The popular INMA Media Innovation Week (October 5-9) in Dublin will focus on best practices in Europe, as well as the peculiar intersection of “media and tech” for which Dublin is now known.

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