European news agencies are embracing AI, 5G and Blockchain technology

The European Alliance of News Agency (EANA) has noted interesting trends and developments within the new agency business in its comprehensive analysis of the industry as it was in 2022.

According to the report, most organisations introduced new technologies last year and spent a remarkable amount to do so. Artificial intelligence is the most important technology, followed by 5G and Blockchain. Blockchain appears to be seen as crucial for security issues.

The findings are the result of a study that has been run by EANA in partnership with the Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI) in Lugano, Switzerland, among EANA’s 32 members, all leading news agencies in European countries.

The report reveals interesting trends and developments within the news agency business and provides valuable insights into the financial dynamics, strategies, and challenges that defined the media landscape during the past year, an EANA press release said.

Also according to the report, financial diversity is one key aspect of European news agencies. The size and financial stability of news agencies vary, with commercial contracts emerging as a significant source of revenue, while subsidies play a lesser role. Advertising and sponsorship play a marginal role, but selling newswires remains an important source of revenue for news agencies.

The majority of EANA members invested in professional training of journalists during 2022, especially for fact-checking and cyber-security. Also, the majority made use of freelancers, mostly for photography and news coverage.

The need for the implementation of a diversity plan within the workforce reflects issues of common concern in many areas (women’s representation and equality of all ethnic groups within the workforce) as well as very specific concerns (protection of journalists and fight against disinformation).

More than half of the organisations implemented special measures to ensure continued coverage of the war in Ukraine, while less than half employed war reporters specifically to ensure coverage of the ongoing war. Global news agencies (AFP, AP, Reuters) were also a major source of information on the topic.

Most news agencies are operative only in the business-to-business market and do not report having competing full-service news agencies at a national level. Competition in general is expected mostly from international news agencies, as well as companies active in specific segments (media monitoring, IT, and others).

The factor that most affected development in 2022 was deemed to be the general crisis of the media industry along with the ongoing war in Ukraine, the EANA press release said.

Most organisations have experienced copyright-related problems throughout 2022.

EANA member news agencies underlined that their strengths lie mainly in a tradition of journalism and accuracy and in their capacity to innovate, among others. Weaknesses are sometimes a lack of professional staff and narrow recruitment base and technological advances.

The main opportunity for news agencies was seen in technological change, whereas the main threat considered is a possible market downsize, with customers reducing size and spending.

To meet potential threats, many news agencies are working on expanding their services.

According to Alexandru Giboi, Secretary General of the European Alliance of News Agencies, "European news agencies are navigating the complex and fluctuating nature of the international media environment focusing on their key strengths: quality journalism, speed, and accuracy, all leading to high trustworthiness among media stakeholders."

"Diversification strategies are also in place, securing the future business of news agencies, while new technologies like AI & blockchain are constantly experimented and used for the improvement of services,” he noted.

(Source: CNA)

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