Annual Report

NLA Media Access at a Glance

million articles

newspaper and magazine titles

web titles


Tim Brooks

Tim Brooks


Chairman’s Foreword

On the face of the results, 2016 was just another year of strong performance from NLA media access: something its shareholders and publisher clients have become accustomed to.

The record returns to publishers are the more gratifying though, as in fact the year was one of very substantial change for the business.

We said goodbye to David Pugh, who retired in March after an exemplary seven years as Managing Director, during which he delivered an uninterrupted period of growth. David did NLA proud, delivering truly transformational change during his time as MD. As Chairman it was a pleasure to work with him, and everyone at NLA wishes him and his family well as he enjoys his retirement, with rather more of their, and much less of our, company.

If that were not enough, we also reluctantly bade farewell to our Sales Director, Susan Dowley, who moved to France after 11 years of loyal and professional leadership of the sales team. And last but not least, our long-serving Commercial Director, Andrew Hughes, was granted leave to move to part-time work, with a clear focus on international growth. We were pleased both to accommodate Andrew’s request, and to retain his knowledge and expertise.

All of which placed the focus squarely on David Pugh’s successor, Henry Jones, who arrived not merely from outside the organisation, but from a senior management position at Meltwater: an NLA client well-known for its legal jousts with the company.

It is to Henry’s considerable credit, therefore, that we end 2016 in such good shape. And the key appointment by him of Neil O’Brien as Commercial Director means that we enter 2017 with a robust mix of established and new senior management. Neil brings considerable experience of leadership in both consumer and business publishing, and his and Henry’s fresh perspectives on NLA and its market will, we hope, enable the company to continue to deliver exceptional value to its stakeholders.

NLA revenues are returned to publishers to allow them to maintain their investment in journalism. The geopolitical upheavals of 2016 underlined, if it were ever in doubt, the vital importance of excellent journalism to a healthy society.

These are the most testing times for publishing, with established business models under increasing threat: witness, not least, the fact that a national newspaper transformed into an online-only service during this year. In that context, NLA’s returns assume ever greater importance for participating publishers, and the company’s performance comes under closer scrutiny from its shareholders. It is the more pleasing therefore that the owners committed to capital expenditure in 2017 to renew the company’s back-office systems.

On a personal note, the final board meeting of 2016 renewed my tenure as Chairman for a second three-year term. We enter 2017 with an engaged and supportive board, a renewed and focused management team, and a determination to innovate to battle the headwinds in the market in order to maintain our proud record of service to publishers.

Managing Director’s Statement

2016 – our twentieth anniversary – was an eventful and positive year for NLA media access, and one in which we continued to help UK publishers and support journalism. We posted revenues of £42 million which meant that royalties to publishers grew by more than 4%.

Magazine and regional publishers enjoyed substantial increases in royalties of +13% and +8% respectively due to NLA repertoire growth and increased demand from our near 10,000 licensees.

These results were delivered alongside significant changes to the company’s staff and internal structure, with the departures of a number of long-serving and valued members of the management team. We start 2017 with over one-fifth of our staff – including myself – having been hired in the last 12 months, and I believe that mix of established and fresh talent keeps the company lively.

The media monitoring and publishing sectors, in which NLA operates, continue to evolve to address new challenges and opportunities. This allows NLA to offer even more support and services to publishers and start work on developing and improving products that will serve our thriving MMO clients in years to come. We have invested in our successful eClips and ClipShare services, taking our running total of articles to just over 95 million.

We also saw demand grow considerably for one of our success stories from the latter part of 2015, the new PR Client Service Licence, with more than 90% of PR agencies opting for the simpler tariff over the last 12 months.

Internationally, we also saw noteworthy developments in the form of six new national agreements allowing companies abroad to re-use UK newspaper content legally.

Supporting journalism is something that is not only reflected in our day to day operations. Our contribution to the Journalism Diversity Fund, which helps the training of journalists from socially diverse backgrounds, surpassed the £1 million mark with a £100k donation in 2016.

It has been an exciting year for me personally to join the great team at NLA media access. We are committed to innovating and evolving to address the needs of our many valued clients in 2017 and beyond.

Henry Jones

Henry Jones

Managing Director

Financial Performance

Where does our revenue come from?
Newspaper royalties £33,304
Magazine royalties £5,877
Media monitoring database services £2,735
Publisher services £244
Total £42,160

In 2016 NLA media access licensed 9,940 organisations and earned £39m from licensing. A further £3m was earned from the provision of media monitoring and publisher services.

Where does our revenue go?
Publishers £35,672
Database development £3,229
NLA costs £ 3,159
Charity £100
Total £42,160

In 2016, 84% of revenue generated by NLA media access was paid to publishers. NLA donated £100,000 to the Journalism Diversity Fund, bringing contributions to more than £1m since the fund began in 2005.

Distribution of net royalties
National newspaper publishers £18,657
Regional newspaper publishers £11,522
Magazine publishers £4,780
International publications £713
Total £35,672

NLA distributes revenues collected in the form of royalties, and these are allocated to publishing groups as shown.

Revenue Per Employee

Revenue per employee increased from £703,000 in 2015 to £753,000 in 2016 as NLA continued to increase operational efficiencies and reduce costs.

  • 2010, 54 employees, £26,508,000
  • 2011, 53 employees, £27,088,000
  • 2012, 53 employees, £29,959,000
  • 2013, 56 employees, £31,615,000
  • 2014, 58 employees, £37,165,000
  • 2015, 57 employees, £40,092,000
  • 2016, 56 employees, £42,160,000

Revenue Growth 2010-2016

Revenue has increased by 56% in the last 5 years; from £27m in 2011 to £42.2m in 2016.

  • 2012, Licensing, £27,172,000
  • 2013, Licensing, £28,682,000
  • 2014, Licensing, £34,001,000
  • 2015, Licensing, £37,061,000
  • 2016, Licensing, £39,181,000

Working With Publishers

William Reed Publishing

Established in 1862 by William Reed, this family-owned company publishes a range of sector-leading magazines, including on food and drink, manufacturing, retail, wholesale, hospitality and, more recently, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. It counts The Grocer, Restaurant, British Baker and Harper’s Wine and Spirit among its titles – which are required reading for thousands of business owners and their staff.

William Reed became an NLA media access client in October 2013, joining as part of a wave of magazine publishers that helped to significantly expand NLA’s range of licensed content.

The company is now NLA’s seventh highest earning publisher, and the Grocer its second most popular magazine. Its full range of publications are also hosted on NLA’s eClips service.

Robert Proctor of William Reed is positive about the relationship: “Working with the NLA had an immediate impact on our revenues, with its hard-working and innovative approach to licensing activity ensuring our high-quality journalism was properly rewarded.

“Having first covered our print publications, we subsequently expanded our relationship with NLA to include our many online titles. We were persuaded by NLA’s strong track record on keeping pace with digital developments in publishing and journalism.

“The NLA team is also great to work with, showing a strong understanding of William Reed’s ambitions and playing an important role in helping us to deliver them.”

Midland News

Midland News is one of the largest regional newspaper groups in the UK, with five paid-for and 10 free weekly titles totalling half a million printed copies a week, and spanning the heart of the UK from the Black Country to mid-Wales. Among its titles are the Express and Star, the largest regional evening newspaper in the country, and the Shropshire Star, in the top 10 of the ABC rankings.

Regional pride is intrinsic to the company’s success. The group has been publishing in the area since 1874, and has been privately owned by the Graham family since 1909. This focus on local roots has remained fundamental in the transition from a mainly print business to a twenty-first century publishing house, with a strong digital presence attracting four million unique users per month.

As Midland News expanded online, it wanted to protect its intellectual property and maximise revenue. That’s where NLA media access came in. Midland News became an NLA client in 2010.

NLA’s rights management advice and syndication expertise has helped to increase Midland News’ revenue year on year, and it now has over 15 titles on NLA’s eClips database.

Midland’s Graeme Clifford says: “NLA is an organisation that thinks like us – adapting to the way media is changing, and looking to the future by increasing revenue through digital media as well as traditional print. As our own business evolves, we really value its insights. It is essential that we secure revenue from online content, and NLA has been instrumental in harnessing its true value.”

Working With Publishers

Publisher Services

Feed Delivery

In 2016, we sent over 200 print and web feeds to 20 different commercial partners, such as Factiva and LexisNexis, on behalf of over 20 publishers. The service is a simple, economical solution for publishers who need to deliver content by strict deadlines. Their commercial partners also benefit by receiving the content in a standardised format and having a single point of contact to discuss any issues.



ClipShare is a digital archive of newspaper content dating back to 2006. Containing over 200 publications made up millions of articles, it is an invaluable source for the 7,500 journalists who use it to research articles relevant to stories they may be working on. Publishers can access content from their own titles on ClipShare where available, and can elect to gain access to other titles.

Online Article Tracking Service

Online Article Tracking Service

Online copyright infringement can deprive publishers of much needed revenues. NLA operates OATS to track serious infringers, either requesting the content is removed, or offering legitimate, copyright-compliant options. In 2016 844 domains were contacted by our staff, leading to the removal of almost 80% of the infringing content. Individual reports on the extent of infringements were provided to some regional publishers for the first time in 2016.

Working With MMOs

The MMO sector continues to be active in mergers and acquisitions. 2016 saw several new players enter the UK MMO market, taking a variety of licences with NLA. Nine UK and international MMOs signed up to NLA’s ‘media monitoring in a box’ eClips database system in 2016. We were able to offer a new, more commercially-scalable variant, enabling newer MMOs to compete with existing players and offer the same breadth, speed and quality of content their clients expect – supplied of course from the publishers’ own systems.

There were other new trends in 2016. While cuttings services remain important, new entrants to the market are often providing insight and analysis as part of their service. Online news outlets are going through a similar period of experimentation, with different forms of subscription alongside the conventional advertising-funded model.

In the UK we saw The Independent newspaper switch from print and digital to a digital-only format. NLA, in close co-ordination with The Independent, was able to smoothly transition supply to clients immediately via the eClips service.

With a track record in innovation, NLA is well aware that external changes in the news and magazines market, as well as different services from MMOs, will mean that its own services have to continue to evolve. We have a number of new services in development as a result, but we will never forget that the core of our business, at least in its current form, depends on the inherent value of content, provided quickly and efficiently to those who value it.

Royalties and Rights Management

NLA recognises the importance of copyright, and believes that the work of freelance contributors to publications has to be fairly rewarded. That means running a system which can properly identify the proportion of revenues due to freelances and agencies.

We do this by means of a survey – the Special Contributors’ Scheme (SCS). The survey involves analysing more than 30,000 articles from over 80 UK newspapers and newspaper websites, which selected media monitoring organisations have supplied to their clients in a typical week. The survey is generally conducted every two years and, to ensure that its results are completely robust, it is independently audited by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

This reflects the fact that the majority of copying conducted by NLA licensees (corporate and public sector organisations) is for media monitoring purposes.

The more general approach is that publishers clear the rights necessary for the purposes of NLA licences and wider syndication applications at the point of commissioning the work. To meet the demands of multi-platform publishing, the majority of NLA mandating publishers have therefore developed rights management processes, and we offer guidance to publishers, including through webinars and seminars held in association with the Professional Publishers Association (PPA), to discuss best practice on rights acquisition and management.

The Telegraph

Telegraph Media Group – Rights Management in the Digital Era

The Telegraph Media Group’s approach to rights management has undergone a significant transformation over recent years to keep pace with the advance of digital media and increasingly diverse types of content consumption.

The development of a multi-platform digital publishing approach has created opportunities to expand audience, reach and monetise content beyond its typical 24hr lifecycle. So, with titles such as The Telegraph producing hundreds of articles each day, it was vital that the sharing, syndication and onward distribution of this material – and commissioned content in particular – was underpinned by a robust approach to copyright protection.

At the Telegraph Media Group, we believed this should be a root and branch process. We wanted our editorial staff to have a strong understanding of rights management and for it to become an important, but seamless, part of their work. Our main objective was that those commissioning editorial content (in any media) for our publications communicated our rights position at the initial point of commission.

To achieve this, we first updated our terms and conditions to make them fit for the digital age. This made sure that the terms accurately reflected how commissioned content could be shared, and on what platforms it could be distributed – both of which were becoming increasingly diverse.

From there, the new guidelines were embedded across our publishing operation through a programme of training for commissioning editors and department heads. These sessions improved understanding of rights management, the benefits of it being done well, and the risks of ignoring these fundamental processes.

This empowered editors to communicate the terms and conditions directly and resolve any queries from contributors upfront. We also took some simple practical steps to help this process, such as including our terms on email signatures and publishing them on our website.

Both a photo rights and an asset management system were introduced to Editorial to ensure that image rights are cleared at the point of briefing in a commission, and unauthorised use of rights-restricted imagery is blocked across all platforms.

The outcome of these modest but important actions was a marked cultural shift towards rights management; one that has allowed the Group to capitalise on the growth of online media whilst continuing to provide much- needed clarity to our contributors and staff.

Sophie Hanbury

Sophie Hanbury

Content Partnerships Director, Telegraph Media Group

International Developments

2016 was a year of significant progress for NLA’s international business. We signed new or extended agreements with licensing bodies, media monitoring businesses and publishers in every continent. This has made it easier for international businesses to operate legally by integrating rights to NLA titles in local licensing services; and also adding international coverage for our UK clients.

New or extended licensing service agreements included Australia, Austria, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal, and Spain. Where the local service covers media monitoring, it was permitted to license local media monitoring companies as well as clients. So, for example, a Spanish business can receive a press service from a local MMO and pay for this through the Spanish agency CEDRO. NLA also signed direct licences with media services in USA, Canada, Portugal, Germany and the Czech Republic.

NLA also now represents leading business titles like NZZ, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Gulf Times, and NRC. They recognise that NLA can build bridges between publishers and business users to benefit access, copyright compliance and revenue.

Access to content technology is an NLA strength. Our eClips platform is now deployed in Spain and our content alliance with the French licensing service developed further in 2016 with eClips combining UK and French content for MMOs.

NLA works actively with its partners in PDLN ( and IFRRO ( further to simplify access and rights for international users.


Income From Overseas Bodies

  • 2013, £342,800
  • 2014, £360,093
  • 2015, £435,003
  • 2016, £548,441
International Placeholder

Supporting Journalism

Shruti Sheth Trivedi

Shruti Sheth Trivedi

Bucks Free Press

The Journalism Diversity Fund (JDF) was set up by the newspaper industry in 2005. The aim of the JDF is to create a route for aspiring journalists from ethnically and socially diverse backgrounds to get into the profession and make newsrooms representative of the diverse communities they report on.

NLA’s contributions to the Journalism Diversity Fund reached £1m in 2015. Since its creation 10 years ago, the JDF has provided bursaries for 200 aspiring journalists who have gone on to work across the industry from the Daily Mail to Sky News.

‘Getting the gold standard NCTJ diploma quite literally changed my life. It gave me a solid foundation and so much more ability to be able to handle myself in a busy newsroom; juggling 10 different stories at once, having the confidence to speak to different people and ask the right questions, getting out and about and looking for stories that might get me a front page.

I’ve had numerous front pages, and have covered countless breaking news stories since I started at the Bucks Free Press last year, which is more than I could ever have imagined. This is all thanks to my NCTJ training, which was, of course, made possible thanks to the JDF. I will be eternally grateful to the JDF for giving me this chance to bring my life experiences and views to the newsroom.

Thanks to the JDF, I took the first step in my new career after giving up the glamorous life of a PR, and am now on my way to taking my National Qualification in Journalism (NQJ) this year.

In my journey, I have discovered that journalism is about so much more than a skin colour, physical ability or postcode. It is people, places, stories, ideas – helping silenced and disadvantaged communities by giving them a voice, exposing injustice, holding the rich and powerful to account and sharing stories of ordinary people reaching extraordinary heights and achieving incredible things.

I for one am proud to be a part of this ever changing landscape. And it is all thanks to the JDF’.

Regulatory Environment

NLA, along with other UK and European Collective Management Organisations (CMOs), is subject to the provisions of The Collective Management of Copyright (EU Directive) Regulations 2016 which came into force in April 2016. The core objective of the Regulations is to ensure that CMOs act in the best interests of the right holders they represent, and sets out minimum standards for governance, financial management and transparency.

One of the requirements of the Regulations is that each CMO produces an Annual Transparency Report, which sets out a range of information on the CMO’s activities in the previous financial year. A copy of NLA’s Annual Transparency Report for 2016, together with a copy of NLA Membership Rules, and our Articles of Association, can be found on the Governance page of the NLA website.

Contact Us

Tunbridge Wells

For all licensing and finance queries.
NLA media access
Mount Pleasant House
Lonsdale Gardens
Tunbridge Wells
Kent, TN1 1HJ

Tel: 01892 525 273


For all publisher, media monitoring, eClips, international, Clipsearch and general management queries.
NLA media access
First Floor,
16 – 18 New Bridge Street
London, EC4V 6AG

Tel: 020 7332 9350