Highfield: NMA Working to Tackle Industry Challenges

In an interview with Ray Snoddy, Ashley Highfield has outlined the steps the News Media Association is taking to tackle the challenges facing the news media industry such as the threat posed by aggregators to the creators of news content.  

In an article published in InPublishing this week, the NMA chairman spoke about the power of local, regional and national newspapers when united under the banner of the NMA.  “When the NMA actually pulls together, we can actually change the language of the industry,” Mr Highfield said.

Mr Highfield spoke about the NMA’s call for regulators to look at the effect of Google and Facebook’s activities on the news media industry and the consequences for the sustainability of quality journalism produced by news media publishers.

“The people who are making all of the incremental money are in an unregulated wasteland,” Mr Highfield said.

The important point, he believes, “is that of all the news content created in the UK, 58 per cent of it is created by news publishers and yet we get something like 10 per cent of the incremental dollars and Google and Facebook are getting 90 per cent.”

An integrated approach to the problem at both the industry and political level, Mr Highfield said, could lead to a more equitable settlement and one that would involve greater transparency in the digital advertising supply chain of the social media giants.

Mr Highfield also spoke about the BBC local democracy deal describing it as “a major step forward and we have moved the debate from one that was very adversarial to one where we are actually working together to the point where we have agreed a joint audit of how much regional news the BBC puts on its sites.”

“It’s real progress. It’s the NMA which has held the ring on that and pushed it forward,” he added.