Lancaster University Management School - 54 Degrees Issue 11

in the formof snippetsor pictures satiates theappetiteandcanonlyserve to decreaseclick-through rates. When a single news organisation covers a story, then the longer the snippet, the less likely a reader will click through, and images also serves to decrease link clicks. The reader already knows what the news is all about fromwhat they can read on Facebook and Google, and spend more time there instead of clicking through to the original article. This is exactly what many producers fear – think how often you click on a link on Facebook, or on Google News, if you already feel you know what the story is going to say. However, the opposite applies when there are stories from competing publishers on the same topic vying for readers’ attention. In this case, readers are more likely to follow the links that offer longer snippets and a picture, having gained a better idea of which story will best fit their needs. Producers are placed in a difficult position by news aggregators. On the one hand, our findings show that producers might want to limit the usage of text/pictures in order to increase click-through rates, but on the other when they are competing with other publishers, more is better in terms of getting attention and clicks. LET’S STICK TOGETHER Such a dilemma shows the need for industry-wide negotiations, rather than the one-on-one negotiations the Australian legislation put forward, to settle the terms of the relationship between producers and aggregators. The Australian government legislation says the tech companies have to negotiate, but it doesn’t force them to do so on an industry-wide basis – oneon-one will not work. The legislation has opened the conversation at a nationwide level, but it doesn’t really have the means to achieve justice for the news organisations. Indeed, two weeks after Facebook and the Australian government appeared to have reached an agreement, reports circulated that the social media giant had yet to agree terms with any of the big players. It feels like the Australian government are testing the water, waiting to see what happens and if their measures make an impact. They have put the issue in the public eye, made more people aware of it – but this is far from the end of the story. Juliana Sutanto is a Professor of Information Systems in the Department of Management Science. She is an expert in system design and users’ behavioural analysis, and co-authored the paper Attention Allocation in Information-Rich Environments: The Case of News Aggregators with Professor Chris Dellarocas, of Boston University, Dr Mihai Calin, of the Boston Consulting Group AG (Switzerland), and Dr Elia Palme, of Newscron SA. It was published in Management Science in 2015. FIFTY FOUR DEGREES | 33