Industry News

Reuters Digital News Project Report looks ahead to regulation of tech companies

By Sebastian Cuttill

12 Jan 2022

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has published its ‘Journalism, media, and technology trends and predictions’ for 2022.

Regarding the regulation of tech platforms, the report notes: ‘the argument that ‘something should be done’ now appears to be won and we are moving rapidly towards implementation’. However, it cautions that ‘the impact on consumers is likely to take years to play out, with much potential for unintended consequences.’

Media leaders who responded to Reuters’ questions on regulation of tech companies had mixed expectations that government action will create a more favourable environment for journalism. 41% expect policymaking interventions to help journalism in 2022 (up from 18% in 2020), whilst 25% believe policies will make conditions worse. 34% anticipate that intervention will neither help or hurt the media.

Changes in the regulatory environment for online platforms are coinciding with a shift in the third-party platforms that publishers are prioritising. Of the publishers surveyed, a net score of 54% said they will be putting more effort into distribution and engagement on Instagram, 47% will be increasing their work on Google, whilst 44% will be doing more work on TikTok. Overall, a new score of 8% will be putting less effort into engagement via Facebook.

It is hoped that efforts to regulate big tech will result in increased revenues for publishers: a lack of cash was reported as the main barrier to innovation. This has resulted in a ‘back to basics’ approach for 2022, with 67% of publishers saying they will spend most of their time bolstering the effectiveness of existing products.

The Report also posits that 2022 could be the year when publishers begin to join forces to counter challenges from platforms: joint lobbying on policy, greater advertising and common login initiatives, and more content sharing are potential initiatives highlighted.

ADVERTISMENT

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