Robin Neidorf Introduction to FreePint's 2014 News Survey Analysis
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By Robin Neidorf


Robin Neidorf introduces FreePint's Seventh Annual Survey on News Needs & Preferences. She reports on findings from purchasing authority to budgets for content, plus the key findings from the 2014 results.


FreePint Topic Series: News, and BeyondFor the seventh year, FreePint has conducted a survey of the organisational needs and preferences around news content, as reported by information managers.

The 2014 survey gathered responses from 342 information managers, each of whom invested 15 to 25 minutes to provide responses to our detailed questions about overall preferences, specific vendors in their portfolios, use of and policies around free web content, and anticipated changes in needs or behaviours in the coming year.

Figure 1 shows how survey respondents characterise their organisations in terms of size and industry.

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Figure 1

Figure 2 shows respondents' geographic location.

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Figure 2

We asked how much purchase authority respondents have with regard to news content. Their responses are shown in Figure 3.

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Figure 3

Budget Changes

Since 2009, we have asked survey respondents in a range of FreePint Research projects about the status of their content budgets. In most instances, we've learned that budgets are flat, at best, and more frequently decreasing.

Our current results, however, demonstrate reports of increasing budgets available for content purchases. Figure 4 shows current survey responses as to whether budgets are increasing, flat or decreasing.

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Figure 4

Only 16% of our respondents reported decreased budgets - a remarkable contrast to results we collected three or four years ago.

In conversations with information managers, they emphasise that stable or increasing budgets do not necessarily correlate to an increase in spending power, particularly with regard to news content, which can be perceived as low-value or a commodity resource.

Key Findings in 2014 Results

Although urgency around news content has abated since we conducted the 2013 iteration of this research, respondents are still actively investigating alternative approaches; questioning the value they get in both research applications of news content and current awareness applications; and fighting uphill battles with stakeholders on costs and newsgathering and news-sharing practices.

Whilst overall satisfaction with premium suppliers remains relatively high, we see dramatic drops in perceived value of the features of those services, as well as decreased confidence by decision-makers in the value-for-money of these contracts.

More organisations are actively investigating or actually implementing systems and technology that provide information managers with greater control over a comprehensive datapool including news content: these projects seek to create a comprehensive environment for current awareness and research that bring together content from news aggregators; content from individually licensed sources; and content from web-based or email-based services. Occasionally, they also incorporate internal documents, resources and know-how.

Satisfaction with results to date on such projects is mixed: tightly defined projects with clear objectives (unsurprisingly) are the most successful, but most respondents feel that it's early days for maximising such technologies.

In-depth analysis can be found in the following FreePint Subscription Articles:

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

This Blog Item is part of the FreePint Topic Series: News, and Beyond.

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