Robin Neidorf News Needs and Preferences: 2012 Results
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By Robin Neidorf


Now in its fifth year, FreePint's Survey on News Needs and Preferences gathers input from corporate information managers about news content within their portfolios and on the desktops (and mobile devices) in their organisations. This year's results demonstrate continued tension between free and fee services, increasing interest in mobile delivery, and attempts to balance carefully cost, content, features, risk and ease of use.


The delivery of news content into corporate environments has changed significantly over the past five years -- the period of time in which FreePint has been conducting our annual Survey on News Needs and Preferences. In that period of time, we've seen:

  • Next-generation features in premium products, encouraging better collaboration and easier internal distribution
  • The rise of social media as an accepted -- and even critical -- source of news
  • A dramatic surge (particularly in the past year) in corporate requirement to be able to deliver news to mobile devices
  • Industry-wide shifts in publisher business models, placing more content behind paywalls and dis-aggregating sources from some premium products
  • Clamp-down on budgets for content, pressuring the news category in particular

not to mention the usual movements due to mergers and acquisitions, changing strategies and technological advances.

By tracking these trends every year through our survey of information managers, we have an opportunity to understand how these shifts play out in organisational decision-making processes.

2012 Survey Participants

We had an excellent response rate this year to the call for participation, with 287 completed surveys.

As with previous years, respondents for the 2012 Survey on News Needs and Preferences represent a range of organisations. Figure 1 shows how respondents categorise their organisations.

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Figure 1

The categories in Figure 1 are not mutually exclusive; a respondent could indicate that his or her organisation is both an organisation with fewer than 500 employees and in the legal industry. 

Figure 2 shows the geographic spread of respondents.

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Figure 2

Figure 3 shows the content budgets for respondents. indicating that a majority of respondents work in organisations with relatively small budgets for content purchasing: Over half report budgets of less than half a million pounds per year. (As with previous years' respondents, however, many respondents with the smaller budgets also indicated that this budget number does not include some of the larger contracts for aggregated content.)

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Figure 3

We asked respondents where within their organisation decisions are made about purchasing new content. Their responses are shown in Figure 4.

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Figure 4

Around 85 percent of respondents indicate that an information centre (either centralised or local) makes the decision for this type of content.

Nearly all of our respondents have influence over decisions or actual purchase authority, as shown in Figure 5. Nearly half are the primary decision-makers, and another 46 percent have influence over the decision or can make purchases up to certain amounts.

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Figure 5

Significant Findings

Every year we repeat this survey, we gain further insight into the factors that influence buying patterns for news content. This year, the main headline seems to be that buyers continue to raise their expectations about what they want from premium products. Top of the list for decision-criteria include:

  • Specialised features, such as analytics and post-search processing
  • Availability in multiple formats, particularly mobile
  • Specific content sets.

However, they report ongoing pressures to keep costs down. For the first time since we've been asking these questions, they indicate a slight willingness to accept less content coverage or some advertising exposure in exchange for lower costs.

Login for Full Analysis

The full analysis of FreePint's Survey on News Needs and Preferences 2012 is available to FreePint Subscribers. Full analysis includes detailed results on preferred features, common activities, preferred providers and buyers' satisfaction with them, movement between free and fee-based resources, and comparison of this year's results against previous years' data.

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The full report (PDF) contains all of the above content, in a convenient package for reference and sharing:

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