“Younger age groups may never acquire the ‘paid-for newspaper habit’,” says a readership trends report Ernst & Young. “Publishers will have to find other means of attracting their attention.”
But the research, as reported in the MediaGuardian says CD giveaways aren’t the way to do it as they fail to address the fact that more than half of the UK’s 15 to 44-year-olds use the internet for their daily information, most of which is free.
So – will more newspapers really have to adopt the freesheet model in years to come to attract younger readers? If so, I dread to think what shoe-string budgets are going to do to the already declining quality of UK newspapers.
Brand Republic reports that the websites of the ‘qualities’ suffered a slight drop in users over the Christmas period. Over a million left The Telegraph website. Nothing to do with its la-de-da readers being more likely to go away for Christmas to Barbados or skiing in Italy or France?
Okay, I should get out more, but AOL has made a bold move – and it has consequences for the industry.
Unlike the Guardian’s faux blog design, AOL has adopted real life automated blogs. Given the ease of publishing, journalists can now write, sub and publish their copy – without little or no need for production staff.
Doug Richard, founder of Library House (and yes, a former panellist on Dragon’s Den) recently suggested that more publishers may go the way of blogs to reduce production overheads. The move would course have serioues consequences for everyone involved in the traditional news production process – staff including sub editors, designers, technical staff and so on.
Interesting coverage of the Cannes Advertising Festival by Mark Sweney of MediaGuardian.co.uk, in particular his notes on a talk by Professor Jeffrey Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future at Microsoft.
I totally agree that publishers of mags and newspapers shouldn’t think they have a god given right. But I do think they have a prayer – as long as they get up to speed with their nearest online competitors asap.
If print publishers migrate all of the best bits of their popular mag, go on to tweak these features to exploit the web AND ensure they’re offering a similarly rewarding experience to the new generation of online only rivals, then all should be well.
A good example is NME.com. The likes of MySpace are snapping at its heals, but its mix of UGC, user profiles, video content and quality journalism means it’s easily capable of being a major player online as well as off. But it’s also reaping the rewards of early web investment.
Anyone offering a strong vertical portal and ‘owning’ a niche area of interest I think has more than a fighting chance against the please-all dotcom behemoths. MySpace knows this too – which is why its site is cut up into niche interest ‘passion centres’. This also explains MTV and Yahoo’s recent decision to develop hobby/interest led microsites and focus efforts on ‘owning’ a space.
Print publishers, like NME.com, just need to hit the ground running asap. If not, shoestring upstarts (e.g. Monkeymag.co.uk) begin to scoop up everyone you’re not catering for on the web (e.g. Loaded).
The first major rework since 2000, the £10million relaunch has been well received by online users, despite initial teething troubles on 5th Feb.
These include: slow loading, missing columns of text on certain stories and slightly confusing content labels (‘Most curious’).
The site uses lime green because the web site is the Times with a twist (their words) and it’s also dropped the Times coat of arms. Use of colour has also been limited, with ‘comment’ content gaining a salmon pink hue.
Expect boat loads of comment on the increased use of UGC / video / podcasts etc.
Another day, another commentator discussing the potential perils of merging your web and print production teams.
Who knows if the Telegraph’s current wheel and spoke newsroom strategy will work? Will newspaper publishers in the north of England really be able spread their news across print, web and video?
Allow me to venture a guess: combined web and print newsrooms work.
As shown by the hugely successful NME, which merged its print and web newsrooms back in 2000, it’s a no brainer. Working in a merged newsroom myself (also back in 2000), one news editor with responsibility for both ‘channels’ simply keeps the following in mind:
Keep all exclusives (ie news and interviews no one else is likely to have) for print. When the mag comes out, then release them online – allowing time for newstand sales.
Report all news agency output, PR’d and diary items – ie anything that’s public domain – on your site. But report items with your own unique twist / flavour.
There. It even works for video and radio content. Treat them the same way as all globally breaking news. If you’re lucky enough to have users signed up to a premium service, then again hold back the exlcusive content for that money making operation.
Separate news rooms can be frought with problems. As well as competing for news, these teams are competing for ad revenue. But it’s obivous that an ad sales team’s position is stronger if they can offer slots across both operations.
Okay, the Telegraph is a case in point – it has issues with perceivably going down market / trying to appeal to a younger audience – but the question of ‘whether to merge or not to merge’ content production teams has to be put to rest. Please?