Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Newspapers reinventing themselves

Several stories this week about the newsprint industry.

Is it a dying industry?

Or are there ways for them to reinvent themselves and hang on for another 50 years?

First the problems:

  1. Time. News occurs 24/7. Newspapers are printed daily. Miss a deadline and they have to wait 24 hours. Consumers that want more up to date information can get it via electronic media such as Radio/T.V./Internet.
  2. Declining Readership. (see number 1).
  3. Declining Revenue. (see number 1).

Here's what the industry is doing this week. These stories are from Mediapost with links to the full story:

Philly Inquirer To Target Female Demo
Brian Tierney, the (relatively) new owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer and says that his goal is to attract new readers online and to be "realistic" about print demos, which aren't about young people. "We're targeting women 35+," he says. "We're being very, very tactical" with beach promotions and the like.

He adds, in remarks to the National Newspaper Association's annual convention, that "No other industry kicks itself in the rear end more than newspapers... Newspapers magnify their own problems to their audience." Further, "we don't talk about the good things. The conversion from print to online at newspapers is the envy of radio and TV. We need to talk about audience. It's a real thing, not spin." - Read the whole story...

Zell Spreads Change To Trib's Smaller Papers
Sam Zell, the billionaire who bought Chicago-based Tribune Co. in December, is preaching a message of change at his new properties -- insisting to its Daily Press employees that the press must evolve rapidly to keep up with big changes in the media landscape. Zell says he wants to give greater autonomy to Tribune properties, so that business and editorial decisions are made at the local level and "not in a tower in Chicago."

Zell also blasts Tribune's corporate culture and structure as inefficient:"My job is to throw grenades ... My goal is to be as outrageous as is necessary in order to move you from where you were to where we have got to be." But even as the industry's advertising revenue and paid circulation slump, Zell says he still smells opportunity.

"I believe that newspapers, in fact, have a great future, and 25 or 30 years from now, the newspapers that adapt and take a position that create a future for them will survive," he says. Zell adds that Tribune's smaller newspapers like the Daily Press will be a "petri dish" of innovation, where new ideas would be tested before being moved to its top-tier papers. - Read the whole story...

Survey: Canadians Still Love Their Newspaper Ads
While Americans are increasingly turning away from print media, a new study finds that our neighbors in Canada are still quite fond of their newspapers. Six of ten of those surveyed in the Great White North say they'd rather look at the ads in a newspaper than watch them on TV, according to an Ipsos Reid survey for the Canadian Newspaper Association.

And that view is shared in almost equal proportions across all gender, age, education and household income levels. The survey also found that 45% sometimes read the paper as much for the ads as for the content, while two-thirds say they enjoy the inserts. Further, 68% say they specifically look through newspapers on holidays or weekends to find out about sales and almost half use newspaper ads to get gift ideas for special occasions. - Read the whole story...

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