Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Jubilee for a Dutch internet press agency

On Sunday I was present at the 10 years jubilee celebration of a Dutch internet press release service, Nieuwsbank/Newsbank, the Interactive Dutch Press Agency. In1996 Jan Halkes (right, standing) started up the service. Jan is a former correspondent for the Dutch newspaper Trouw and a former lecturer at the School for Journalism in Utrecht.

Facts and figures
Nieuwsbank has built up some impressive statistics. When the agency started out it was able to process 30 press releases a day. These days it processes 800 press releases a day. This increase has been possible as the agency developed an internet robot, the Roving Robot Reporter. Monthly 12.500 press releases in Dutch (10.000) and English (2500) are processed. In the meantime, the service has built up an archive of 700.000 Dutch language press releases and 145.000 English language ones. The site receives daily 15.000 visitors.

Press releases
The product press releases is a complicated one. On the one hand there are the producers of press releases such as marketing communication people and PR agencies. On the receiving end there are people in the business intelligence departments, marcom departments, PR bureaus and journalists. But thanks to this type of services also interested people can consult the press releases.
Press releases are offered to Nieuwsbank or collected. When the press releases are offered, Nieuwsbank editors might adapt the headlines in order to be better found. The Roving Robot Reporter brings in news from sites. This is interesting especially as most site operators neglect public relations.
The site is a mine as the archive has stored more than 700.000 Dutch language press releases and 145.000 English language press releases.
In the last years Nieuwsbank has expanded its services as the local distribution agency for the 50.000 press releases for Businesswire.

Middle man
Nieuwsbank is a news aggregator. This is a middle man function. Nieuwsbank gets money from companies for the distribution and the management of the press releases, from readers and from advertisement. And so far Nieuwsbank has succeeded to survive.
What is the future for Nieuwsbank? A news aggregator functions within the news column, be it with limitations such as the Dutch language and the text-orientation. The news column includes newspapers, newspaper archives, newswire agencies, documentation services as well as clip and newsletter services. This column is rather conservative and inefficient, IMHO and might move slowly. The business intelligence and the marketing sector will be interesting in the coming years. But in order to bind companies from this sector, not only press releases are needed, but also voices from bloggers. In other words, a new format will have to be developed in the coming year.

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Blog Posting Number: 423

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