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Open Letter Part 2: Who Are Scoop's Biggest Freeriders?


Crunch Time For Scoop.co.nz - An Open Letter To Our Readers Part Two


Laying It All Out There - Who Are Scoop's Biggest Freeriders


From: Scoop Publisher Alastair Thompson
To: Scoop Readers and Supporters and Scoop Foundation Members
&
To: NZ's professional communicators - in the news media, and in PR/Marcomms, in large organisations, in consultancies, and in the Government.

Dear Colleagues,

Last Wednesday we published an open letter addressing professional users of Scoop.co.nz, in particular those who have chosen not to purchase ScoopPro Essential licenses - so named because ** if an organisation's staff uses Scoop at work, as part of their work, having one is essential - otherwise you are breaking our terms of use**. .

In the three and half years since we launched our new model for charging for news, 211+ organisations have signed up. It's an impressive bunch, including NZ's Parliament, a range of large and small Govt. Departments and agencies, one University, a handful of local authorities, and numerous corporates, PR companies, law firms, consultancies, civil society organisations and individuals.

To date nobody has challenged our legal basis for requesting to be paid for professional use in our terms of use.

However at the same time the level of compliance is not high either.

If it was we wouldn't be running this PledgeMe campaign.

This, the cancellation of our largest contract, and the fact Scoop's "ethical paywall" appears to be the solution to the news crisis that nobody dares speak of.

But as I said in Part 1 of this letter last Wednesday - it would be a crying shame if Scoop were to fail now, so close to the finish line. And not just for us at Scoop: for NZ, and for all the organisations, large and small, that Scoop gives voice to.

As we all know, the News Industry in NZ - and indeed everywhere - is in a far deeper crisis than anyone is acknowledging and, on the face of it, there are no solutions on the table.

Save on that final point, Scoop begs to differ.

Legally Speaking - So Far It's Been Plain Sailing

Now it is worth pointing out that Scoop took extensive legal advice before putting our "Ethical Paywall" in place - and we also advised people that it was coming for several years before it was even launched. I recall presenting on it at one of the first NetHuis back around 2012.

The fact that no lawyer ever told us we were wrong during this period was part of the reason we proceeded to put it into place. I even informed NZ's copyright tribunal judge about what we were up to and asked for his opinion. Not that he replied, but.

Scoop has till now chosen not to press the issue with those who are failing to comply - partly because of the legal costs of doing so and partly because a history of market practice and accepted use strengthens our legal case, if it is eventually taken to court. Discretion is the better part... etc.

And partly because we hoped you all would get used to it. And it seems you have, albeit also rather bored and sick of hearing about it, from the look of things.

But I am sorry to say, it doesn't look like we will be going away - as we have once again found, in our hour of need, a significant level of support for our plan to keep on.

That said, this time it is different, as we will take no for an answer. If we fail to meet the target and/or this freezing shoulder treatment from all the media, all the business community and everybody in Parliament continues, then we may choose to call it a day.

In This PledgeMe The Smaller Organisations Have Been Supportive…

It has been very pleasing that we have sold numerous licenses to organisations that use Scoop during the past three Pledgeme Crowd-Selling/Funding campaigns we have run.

However it is also very noticeable that the vast bulk of these have been very small organisations - those who are least able to pay for it - and those who in many ways receive less value. And that doesn't seem very fair, neither to us nor to them.

The average size of a Scoop License is $1000 pa. The entry level license for an organisation with up to 20 staff is $420 a year (or $294 with the current 30% Crowd-Sale discount - available till December 3rd). The larger organisations bring the number up. But there are fewer big organisations and our average contract value is falling.

So far in response to our current Scoop 3.0 PledgeMe crowd-selling/funding campaign we have had a significant number (13) new small organisations sign up to these licenses. Most are small NGOs involved in civil society good works - who perhaps perceive that the cost of a license is affordable and good value (as it comes with benefits).

But I suspect one of the key reasons they purchase the licenses is that they value what Scoop does for them - and wonder how else they would communicate what they are doing if we were not around. Value for money.

Scoop is extremely grateful to the 14 organisations listed above - whose help has helped bring us - as of today - to 62% of our current funding/sales target in the period to December 3rd. Together their contributions add up to nearly half of the nearly $22,000 pledged at the time of writing.

We also have another five smaller organisations in the wings waiting to confirm. And this is an amazing showing. Bravo! We would very much like more to join too. And without you we would have definitely given up. But in reality we need to sell 200 $300 a year licenses to fill the gap in our budget. And all the while hundreds of large organisations are basically taking the piss.

… So While Scoop Is Very Grateful To Our Small ScoopPro License Purchasers And The 140 Odd Individual Pledgers Who Have Gotten Us This Far - At The Same Time We Are Wondering Why Larger Organisations (And PR Professionals - Who Arguably Benefit The Most Directly From Our Existence - They Get Paid To Write The Releases We Publish) Continue To Ignore Us?

With one very pleasing exception, Scoop's larger users have completely ignored our Scoop 3.0 messages, adverts and prominently displayed front page entreaties to comply with our terms of use - all the while continuing to use our news service and flouting our very clearly advertised and advised terms of use.

It seems that there are a large number of communications professionals - not to mention CEOs and board members of large organisations - in NZ who expect Scoop.co.nz to do something for them and the businesses/organisations that pay them, for nothing. (Steven Wood is waiting for your calls - or emails steven@scoopmedia.co.nz will work.)

And that is what this Open Letter is about. Identifying Scoop's larger freeriders - and hopefully flushing some of them out into the open.

This is the first time we have publicly called on larger organisations to consider their position, or non-position, in relation to our ask. (As for the most part, from our perspective, the opposition to our "ethical paywall" simply takes the form of being completely ignored. Talk to the hand.)

And So Today We Highlight 11 Example Organisations, Media Companies, Banks & Our Biggest Govt. Unlicensed Freeriding Organisations - using DATA (Specially included for Keith Ng's benefit).

Three of the 11 organisations highlighted in this letter are large media organisations - TVNZ, Mediaworks and NZME. And for me the CEOs of those organisations will be the most important readers of this missive.

And if I am completely honest I am not expecting them to pay up, they haven't acknowledged our existence for the past 20 years - so why expect them to change now.

But I do know they will be reading this. After all, it's the sort of thing that Kris Faafoi may want to discuss at their upcoming summit.

And I want them to think about the message contained in this letter - as it’s not all levity.

There exists in NZ a proven method to fund public interest news which they are leaving on the table. The NZ Herald doesn't need to invest a fortune to build a new crappy and probably pointless paywall. Instead they should emulate us.

And the message addressed to these three organisations (for which we have Data) applies equally to the three other large news publishing companies, Fairfax, Bauer Media and Allied Press. (Radio New Zealand, NBR and BusinessDesk are licensed, along with several other minnow media companies of Scoop's scale or smaller).

And it also applies to our Indy colleagues at TheSpinOff and NewsRoom who are clearly also finding things a bit tough going this year. Perhaps NBR might like to take a gander at it to. It could enable him to pull down his wall.

The fourth organisation which is highlighted in this letter, and the next most important for me, is the Ministry of Social Development (MSD). MSD is the largest Central Government user of Scoop which doesn't presently have a license.

MSD is now an outlier as MBIE, Treasury, IRD, DIA, MFAT, Parliament (including Ministerial Services) and a bunch of other smaller Govt. agencies - 25 in all - are now ScoopPro licensed.

Meanwhile somewhere between 150 and 250 reasonably sized Govt. agencies aren't licensed - and as the evidence presented in this Open Letter can be taken plainly, if their staff use Google and make decisions which involve news, then they probably should be.

With A Bit Of Govt. Love Scoop Could Prosper

If the NZ Govt. complied with Scoop's terms of use consistently, instead of in a patchy manner, Scoop would not only be instantly profitable and sustainable. We would also be able to immediately significantly improve the quality of the Scoop service, technically and content wise. We would be able to publish more free to access public interest news content, not just in the form of a quality curated press release publishing service and archive, but we would be able to invest in quality professionally written journalism as well - and invite and publish a far larger number of columns and op-eds.

It is likely we would also be able to distribute profits to our owner, the Scoop Foundation for Public Interest Journalism, to make grants to journalists working with other publishers to do outstanding journalism work - as we have already done twice with funds raised in our crowd-funding campaigns.

While this is clearly aspirational right now, achieving this goal is partly why we think the Scoop 3.0 Model which we plan to use some of the proceeds of this PledgeMe to kick start, really does have the potential to be a game changer in addressing the global News Crisis - not just NZ's - and as a result is a genuine investment opportunity, unlike every other digital news business on the planet.

Which Brings Me Back To Addressing My Brethren In Big Media

If TVNZ, APN, Fairfax, Bauer, Allied Press & Mediaworks simply complied with our terms of use, and purchased licenses for their staff's significant use of Scoop, then Scoop would well over two thirds of the way to reaching the remaining $13k we are seeking in this crowd-sale.

Moreover in doing so, they would help reinforce the legal framework behind the "ethical paywall", which could, if they later chose to adopt it themselves for their online content, be used to earn substantial additional revenues.

It's really a no-brainer. But let's see if they can think.

Yours Sincerely
Alastair Thompson, Scoop Co-Founder
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

>> CLICK TO SUPPORT THE SCOOP 3.0 CROWD SELLING AND CROWD FUNDING CAMPAIGN NOW! <<

An Open Letter To Scoop Supporters And Readers - Part 2

To: All Readers and Supporters of Scoop
From: Alastair Thompson, co-founder, former editor and director of Scoop Independent News

Dear Readers and Supporters,

Introduction To Part 2

This letter is Part 2 of a series of letters, the first of which was published last week, from me, Alastair Thompson, as Scoop's Publisher - addressing you, our readers, about the current PledgeMe Crowd-funding & Crowd-selling campaign which we started on October 10th.

These letters are made necessary because we need to raise a still significant amount of money over the next week ($13,215 over 5 Days) to ensure that Scoop.co.nz will make it through the summer.

The slow summer sales period is always a challenge for Scoop - and the decision of Parliament in September to cancel its significant newsagent subscription service, which serves 500 users - has left us with a significant hole in our budget - and with a need to take emergency action.

While the contents of these letters are targeted at our professional users, those who will most likely read them are you, our long time supporters. And to you - dear readers, supporters and members of the Scoop Foundation - they are offered as a way of providing a view inside the workings of the new Scoop 3.0 business that you have helped build.

It is my hope that through disclosing significant amounts of the detail of how we are endeavouring to complete the crazy mission we set out on with your help in back in 2015, I will convince some of you to once again support us at this difficult time.

We have made very significant progress in our efforts to transform the Scoop business into a sustainable and thriving Charitable Foundation capable of supporting public interest journalism already - but for now we still need your assistance.

There are two ways you can do so:

Pledging: Please pledge here >> Pldg.me/Scoop - and when you do so please leave us a message so we can thank you publicly on twitter and encourage others to pledge.

..and/or..

Spreading the word: Please forward a link to this article to any communications professionals and/or organisational decision-makers (CEOs, Directors, Senior Public Servants etc.) you know (media or PR or Govt.) - and urge them in your own words to read it.

Thanking you in advance.
Alastair Thompson
Scoop Publisher
Tuesday, 27 November 2018

CONTENTS:
Looking More Closely At Scoop.co.nz's Biggest Freeriders
The NZ Govt - 1.3 Million Pages Served & Narry A Drop To Drink!
The 25 Largest Govt. Users Of Scoop - 19 Of Which Are Freeriding
Selected Google Analytics Data For Three Other Large User Groups On Scoop.co.nz
LARGE MEDIA COMPANY USE OF SCOOP.CO.NZ SINCE ETHICAL PAYWALL INTRODUCED
THE FOUR LARGEST GOVT/CROWN ENTITY USERS OF SCOOP - SINCE THE ETHICAL PAYWALL INTRODUCED (EXCLUDING PARLIAMENT)
AND FINALLY…. THE THREE LARGEST UNLICENSED NZ BANKS
THE END

>> CLICK TO SUPPORT THE SCOOP 3.0 CROWD SELLING AND CROWD FUNDING CAMPAIGN NOW! <<

********

Looking More Closely At Scoop.co.nz's Biggest Freeriders

The NZ Govt - 1.3 Million Pages Served & Narry A Drop To Drink!

The NZ Govt is far and away Scoop's biggest user. At the same time when considered as a single entity it is also our best client and our biggest free-rider.

Our best guess is that NZ Govt. traffic on Scoop (based on long term averages) comprises between 6-8% of our total traffic. Around 300k sessions a year viewing between 500 and 600k pages.

While the portion of Govt. traffic that we are able to identify in our logs is falling*, the remaining .govt.nz and .ac.nz portion (see image below) contains 100s of thousands of Govt. users, from 133 Govt. networks visiting Scoop 781,743 times, and viewing 1.37 million pages on Scoop over the period since we started advertising our "Ethical Paywall.


Click for big version

* NOTE: The number of Govt. networks advertising themselves as such has decreased significantly over the past 8 years from 208 to 133 - with the largest drop occurring from mid 2015 onwards. It appears a significant and increasing portion of Govt. use of the Scoop can no-longer be identified.

A large number of the 1.37 million pages (probably around 25%) will have carried prominant advertising alerting users to the requirement for professional use of Scoop.co.nz to be licensed.

And lest anyone remained in any doubt about this over the past three and a half years we have also sent thousands of email messages to Govt. communications professionals who send us releases informing them of this and asking for them to get in touch.

Many of the Govt. organisations which use Scoop are very large, and several of these are in fact already licensed. However the vast majority are not.

>> CLICK TO SUPPORT THE SCOOP 3.0 CROWD SELLING AND CROWD FUNDING CAMPAIGN NOW! <<

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The 25 Largest Govt. Users Of Scoop - 19 Of Which Are Freeriding

Our next graphic shows the largest Govt. users in ranked order, largest first. Below you see a list of the top 25 Govt. (central, local and crown entity) users of Scoop, listed with Google Analytics Data showing the level of usage (users and sessions) over a three and a half year period.


Click for big version

Of the 25 Govt. organisations listed above, six have purchased ScoopPro licenses, one of which recently notified that they are cancelling, after their purchasing officer was replaced. Only three of the top 10 are licensed - AUT University, the NZ Parliament and Auckland Council.

But the NZ Government is far from the only supersized freerider. In the section that follows we share data about Large Media Company use of Scoop, some details about three of the largest unlicensed Govt. organisations, and finally, reveal the level of Scoop usage among the three largest unlicensed commercial banks (ANZ- National has a license) as well as of the central bank.

Every one of these organisations continues to use Scoop without purchasing a license in contravention of our terms of use.

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********

Selected Google Analytics Data For Three Other Large User Groups On Scoop.co.nz

LARGE MEDIA COMPANY USE OF SCOOP.CO.NZ SINCE ETHICAL PAYWALL INTRODUCED


Google Analytics Data for traffic identified as originating from TVNZ, NZME (Apn. Holdings) & Mediaworks and Radio New Zealand. Final chart also includes Radio NZ which has a ScoopPro License.
The Scoop Ethical Paywall has been advertised on the Scoop site since it was introduced in May 2015 - these charts estimate total traffic from then to now.
Note that this data does not include the use of Scoop made by journalists using mobile phones, when at home or when working outside the main office.

Monthly Usage In Period Since Ethical Paywall Introduced (May 2015) - Y Scale = Sessions Per Month


Click for big version

This image shows use of Scoop peaking in the period leading up to the 2017 Election and immediately afterwards.

Sources Of Traffic May 2015-Nov.2018 (Google =Search) , Direct = (Bookmarks + Emailed Links)


Click for big version

This image shows how people using the internet at work in these companies arrived on Scoop - mostly via search - which is the most common use case for Scoop. This suggests the readers are using Scoop for research purposes.

The Last 30 Days Of Use By Four Media Companies (Y-sale = page views per day)


Click for big version

This final image of Media use provides a clearer view of the number of people using Scoop in media organisations (in terms of news staff this would appear to suggest nearly everybody is using Scoop - but user numbers are notoriously over reported in Google Analytics Data) and the frequency of their use. Over longer time periods this information gets noisy. Readers are returning on average around three times per month and reading on average 2 pages per session when doing so. This reinforces the probability Scoop is being used for research.

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THE FOUR LARGEST GOVT/CROWN ENTITY USERS OF SCOOP - SINCE THE ETHICAL PAYWALL INTRODUCED (EXCLUDING PARLIAMENT)

Google Analytics Data for traffic identified as originating from the Ministry of Social Development, Auckland University, Massey University and Otago University.
The Scoop Ethical Paywall has been advertised on the Scoop site since it was introduced in May 2015 - and all four of these organisations were written to when the "Ethical Paywall" was first introduced. Scoop did not receive a written response from any of them.
Note that this data does not include the use of Scoop made by staff of these organisations using mobile phones, when at home or when working outside the main office, or in the case of Universities, when data from Scoop has been stored locally and used for research.

Monthly Usage In Period Since Ethical Paywall Introduced (May 2015) - Y Scale = Sessions Per Month


Click for big version

This image shows that use of Scoop.co.nz by Auckland University appears to be falling. However it is possible that this is due to changes in the way the network is advertising itself publicly. Over time it is getting harder and harder to identify the sources of traffic on the internet - and many organisations have gone dark altogether. You can see in this data that use at Auckland and Otago Universities increased during the 2017 election.
Notably the blue line - which shows the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), has significantly fewer people whom one might expect would be using Scoop than the large Universities - but is holding its own in terms of usage. MSD's use of Scoop has been consistently high throughout the period that we have data.

Sources Of Traffic May 2015-Nov.2018 (Google =Search) , Direct = (Bookmarks + Emailed Links)


Click for big version

Google search remains the dominant source of traffic from both Universities and MSD - but is lower as a proportion than that coming from media organisations. 70-80% of media use of Scoop.co.nz is search driven vs around two thirds at universities and 55% at MSD. A significant portion of MSD usage of Scoop (34%) is direct - suggesting a sizeable number of MSD staff are actively browsing the Scoop site.
After Parliament MSD is the largest central Govt. user of Scoop.co.nz by as measured by session numbers.

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AND FINALLY…. THE THREE LARGEST UNLICENSED NZ BANKS


Google Analytics Data for traffic identified as originating from the Reserve Bank of NZ and three of NZ's big four banks, the fourth big-four bank, ANZ-National has a Scoop Pro license.
Note that this data does not include the use of Scoop made by staff of these organisations using mobile phones, when at home or when working outside the main office.

Monthly Usage In Period Since Ethical Paywall Introduced (May 2015) - Y Scale = Sessions Per Month


Click for big version

This image illustrates one of the major problems that Scoop.co.nz will need to overcome when trying to convince large organisations that they ought to have a license. Finding reliable log information about an organisation is not easy, and is getting harder all the time.
In this case you can see that prior to October 2016 there is no data for the Bank of New Zealand. And for the ASB we only have data for October and November - though it does appear that the ASB are big Scoop fans racking up nearly 500 sessions over those two months.
Of the four the NZ Government's Bank, Westpac is the largest most consistent user of Scoop. We can also see that the RBNZ's use of Scoop also increased during election year.


Click for big version

In this image we see that the ASB's direct use of Scoop.co.nz is remarkably high at close to 50% while between 50% and 66% of the other three banks use of Scoop came via Google Search. Interestingly digging a bit deeper into the data we find that three of the banks have made use of Scoop's Infopages ( info.scoop.co.nz ) to keep an eye on reports of our colleagues at BusinessDesk.

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****ENDS****

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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