Home' Australian Printer Magazine : October 2013 Contents NEWSPAPERS
Australian Printer - October 2013 57
INMA itself is changing from a
newspaper marketing association
to exploring possibilities beyond
print. According to Wilkinson, the
industry now sees itself as a print
plus digital industry.
Don’t blame digital
WHILE the new platforms of web,
tablet and mobile have meant big
changes for newspapers, experts
report that digital products are
attracting new readers, rather than
siphoning them from print.
In the UK, the Daily Mail’s web
offering, Mail Online, has enticed
new audiences by developing a
personality for digital natives.
Martin Clarke, publisher of Mail
Online, says keeping the digital and
print products distinct has “allowed
us to meet millions of new readers
who would not only never buy the
Daily Mail, but they wouldn’t buy
any newspaper. The overlap between
our print and digital readership
in the UK is 14 per cent, so we’re
reaching an entirely new audience.”
The Mail Online is the world’s
most successful online newspaper.
As well as leading in the UK, it is
the third biggest news website in the
USA, and it is expanding into new
markets. Clarke had publishers at
Panpa salivating with his figures.
The Economist similarly found
that, of their digital subscribers
in Canada, 77 per cent had never
subscribed to the print Economist.
Wilkinson says other newspapers,
such as The New York Times, have
seen a comparable trend.
PUBLISHERS are moving beyond
generic content for a generic
audience. The Australian industry’s
new sur vey programme, the
Emma metric, promises to identify
newspaper sections that aren’t
pulling their weight with readers on
each of the platforms.
Hywood says, “Each platform
has a different demographic. Take
The Sydney Morning Herald;
the demographic of the printed
newspaper is significantly older than
it is for the online version.”
Julian Clarke, CEO of News Corp
Australia, says, “I think the market
is figuring out who will be print
readers and who will be digital. But
there is an overlap. The digital world
is strong in the Monday to Friday,
but by gosh, weekend newspapers
are as strong as ever.
“If you put our Sunday papers
together, in less than 24 hours you’re
amassing an audience that television
takes a week to reach.”
Regional and community papers
are resisting the digital shift.
Michael Miller, CEO of APN News &
Media, says this is due to their direct
connection with communities. He
says, “ They haven’t tried to compete
on national news, they lead each of
their markets on the local. It’s about
relevance, it’s about community.”
In some sectors, print products
are just as strong as digital.
Wilkinson says certain digital media
groups in the US even primarily
monetise themselves by reverse-
publishing into print.
The revenue blowout
AUSTRALIA’S paper giants
say falling revenues – which
are decreasing at twice the rate
of readership numbers – are
newspapers’ biggest challenge.
Miller says the industry should
work together to create a better
commercial proposition, but
Wharton argues that the situation
may not be so dire in all markets.
He says, “ There’s no doubt media
buyers in Sydney and Melbourne
are down on newspapers. We have
to do more to get our stor y out. But
I always say: the west works. Our
customers measure things by how
their till rings; we don’t seem to have
a problem getting through to buyers
locally. But we can still write a pretty
healthy revenue out of Sydney and
Melbourne, around $100m.
“Our newspaper adver tising
market is still fairly robust compared
to other areas. This hasn’t happened
by accident, we’ve invested a lot of
time and energy into keeping our
advertisers happy. We are a strong
local brand, and our advertisers keep
telling us that ads in our products
are working for them.”
Wilkinson adds that rather than
any one silver bullet solution, it may
take seven or eight smaller strategies
to fill the print adver tising hole.
Alive and kicking
NEWS Corp’s Clarke argues that
print newspapers are necessar y for
maintaining good journalism and a
more informed society, as well as a
healthy bottom line.
He says, “ This legacy business
that’s become so criticised is paying
all the bills. A nd it ain’t dead. You
talk to any journalist and ask them
to rate media clout-wise, they’ll
always put the newspaper at the top.
“Nobody owes us a living. We
have probably had a tail wind for
many years. It’s now a matter of
standing up and ar ticulating what
the extents of this medium are. Cost-
cutting is essential, but you can only
do it once.”
If they want ideas, the Aussie
CEOs might look to creative
companies like The Times of India,
which traded adver tising space for
equity stakes and is now sitting on
about US$3bn in private equity.
Wilkinson says, “I believe in
print, but I want to be smart about
its attributes, and I want full value
for journalism and quality content
that is relevant. Our reinvention is
about flexibility of business model,
speed of execution and ultimately
constantly going where the
consumer is going to go.”
While readers are still looking to
printed broadsheets for their news,
the CEOs will be keen to keep their
newspapers alive and kicking.
Relevance: how will printed newspapers capture the attention of the tech generation
‘print ain’t dead’
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