LANE PR’s Amber Roberts Joins Other Experts to Discuss what Role Newswire Services Should Play in IR – PRWeek, January 2011

Posted by: Admin in: Lane News -

amber-2009-_web1Amber Roberts, Managing Director, LANE PR New York

In August 2008, the SEC revised Reg FD to allow the use of the Web to inform the public of earnings and other material disclosures. Companies now have the option of using RSS feeds, e-mail alerts, and website postings, in addition to, or instead of, newswire releases to disseminate financial information.

Using a newswire service for material disclosures can come with a heavy price due to the amount of information that typically must be included in earnings releases and other disclosures. In an age of self-publishing, that time and money might be better spent elsewhere.

However, before any company considers switching to an online-only distribution platform, it first needs to ask a few questions and follow some simple guidelines:

■  Survey your audience. How would investors and other relevant constituencies prefer to get their news? Is your website a recognized channel for timely and material information? What steps must you take to get your website to be such a channel? Truly understand your audience before you make a change.
■  Stick to key IR principles: transparency and responsiveness. Whatever vehicles you choose for news distribution, they must allow you to be as transparent as possible and not compromise your responsiveness to inquiries.
■  Communicate and communicate again your new distribution method and explain the value to your constituencies. Then communicate it some more, just to cover your bases.
■  Consistency is key. If you choose Web- only for your distribution and eliminate a wire service for material announcements, be consistent. In order to secure investment community buy-in and drive real change in behavior, the company must be consistent with the methods it ultimately chooses. Inconsistency can lead to questioned credibility.

In this Internet-friendly world where blogs, RSS feeds, and social media are common news sources, wire services may not be necessary for companies with an investment community that’s on board. But each company must determine the best way or combination of ways to ensure fair disclosure that is in the realistic best interest of all its relevant audiences.

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