Results from a 2018 PR Practitioner Survey highlight an interesting fact: half of PR managers, directors and supervisors responsible for news distribution no longer use the newswire. Instead, they are opting to self-publish their news releases and self-distribute using targeted emails and social media.

This number is staggeringly higher than most would expect. Why?

Since its enactment in October 2000, newswire services have been used as a means to satisfy an SEC Financial Regulation entitled Fair Disclosure or Reg FD. This regulation required that publicly traded companies make “material information” available “widely” and “simultaneously.” Too many inside investors at big trading firms were getting potentially stock altering information before the rest of the trading public. With the requirement to satisfy Reg FD, newswires began offering services to disseminate such material information as earnings reports “over the wire” and promised to “post” the information on various websites with the assurance of being picked up and linked to from many others. Those journalists that subscribed to the wire would then get the important information when everybody else that subscribed to that wire received it, and the information would be available on thousands of websites around the world, ensuring “wide” dissemination.

This was a great idea until the Internet came. As with most industries, the Internet took out the middle man. Within the PR industry, that middleman is the newswire. With the Internet plus social media, public companies (and private) can easily, effectively and cost-efficiently create, manage and distribute their own news. By self-publishing content to a hosted and declared news website and utilizing targeted email tools and social media distribution tools, any company can satisfy the Regulation FD requirements sans the newswire.

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In fact, on August 1, 2008 (nearly ten years ago) the SEC said this.

Additionally, on April 2, 2003 (more than five years ago) the SEC said this.

Some quotes from the documents:

“We have issued a series of interpretive releases and rules that promote the use of company web sites as a means for companies to communicate and provide information to investors under the Securities Act and the Exchange Act.” — August 2008

“We believe that a company’s web site can be a valuable channel of distribution for information about a company, its business, financial condition, and operations.” — August 2008

“The Securities and Exchange Commission today issued a report that makes clear that companies can use social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter to announce key information in compliance with Regulation Fair Disclosure (Reg FD) so long as investors have been alerted about which social media will be used to disseminate such information.” — April 2013.

As you can imagine, in the past ten years a lot has changed. Companies that were used to paying $10,000 or more each quarter to have their earning released “over the wire” no longer had to realize this expense. Organizations such as Coca-Cola, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Goldman Sachs, and many, many others have built specialized news-focused websites that host all material information. Then they can distribute via targeted email lists and instantly via social media channels to satisfy the requirements of the SEC.

In the past and even today, newswires still do a lot of good, have a purpose, and have evolved over the years. However, there is no denying that self-publishing your content on your own hosted website and using targeted email and social media distribution can help save money and build your brand. It is what news consumers expect, it is what more and more journalists expect, and after analyzing the results of this research, it is what 50% of PR practitioners are doing.

The findings from this 2018 PR Practitioner Survey Report highlight this point. 50% of those that were surveyed no longer use a newswire for news distribution.