Commentator Stephen Wadds posted this story on his blog concerning the changes to UK media licensing. These moves by the NLA are deeply controversial and will inevitably make life much more difficult for PR agencies, and for their clients who will ultimately have to bear the cost of this licensing. This development has to be set against Google’s recent announcement of its plans to restrict access to newspaper content. It looks like there will be some fairly big changes ahead in 2010 for web users and communications professionals alike.
I have followed the NLA’s plan to licence the use of paid-for business-to-business web content from newspaper web sites since the NLA announced its plans in June (search my blog for content tagged NLA for more information). Since then publishers have started to raise pay walls and take on Google in a bid to monetise content.
Six months is a long time on the Internet and especially so for newspaper publishers running loss making web operations.
The NLA said today that the web licensing scheme will go ahead from 1 January 2010. Press clipping agencies, web aggregators, PR agencies and client organisations that track web clippings on newspaper web sites will need a licence. Free consumer services will not be affected.
In September the NLA said that the move will generate an estimated £2 million and while this won’t make a significant dent in the £1 billion production budget of the UK newspaper industry, it will ensure that publishers recover a contribution from the after market for web clippings.
In a press release issued today the NLA said that it has reached agreement with almost all press cutting agencies but that it still needed to agree terms with “a small number of paid web aggregators”.
“Newspaper publishers, which own the NLA, have written to the remaining aggregators to express their full support for the NLA’s initiative. The letter makes clear that the publishers and NLA will pursue non-compliant aggregators with technical and/or legal measures as necessary.”
In agency-land any move to implement additional costs will be inevitably be challenged but the ongoing debate about monetising newspaper web content will help the NLA’s case.