Navigating the perfect storm

Challenges, trends & solutions for web newspapers

Digital Insight Report - April 2009

Navigating the perfect storm: Challenges, trends & solutions for web newspapers

The global recession accelerated structural change in the readership and advertising markets newspapers serve, creating a perfect storm that threatens the very survival of most newspapers – both on and offline. As the ad revenue shortfalls bite and online newspapers fail to get the same audience growth as internet pureplays, newspaper leadership teams are faced with tough choices. Many fail to monetize those audiences effectively, lacking the models and skills to raise advertising yields and additional revenue streams. It’s tempting to cut digital publishing rather than see it as core to future revenue platforms, however the decisions media firms take during the next 18 months will have disproportionate implications on the future of their brands. For some those futures will be painfully short: many newspapers will not survive the recession and its aftermath. After 15 years in the online publishing sector, Digital’s team share examples of their strategic insights and practical experience with publishing leadership teams. This Digital Insight Report accompanies in-company strategy programmes for media groups eager to navigate the storm and chart a safe course for blended on and offline publishing.

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Comments (2)

Robert Martins - Web media director:

It's frustrating looking back at what media groups should have done during the past few years. We got many of the elements right but fell short from the monetisation strategy. Interested in whether people reckon that the web really can pick up the losses that print is taking?

Danny Meadows-Klue comments

We reckon it won’t happen. The cost-base of most newspapers is far too large to be covered by online revenues so unless the print editions restructure (reducing pagination or frequency) the maths doesn’t stack up. For many years we’ve been forecasting the closure of about 10% of European newspapers (including locals and regionals) by summer 2011 and our belief is that weekend editions will continue, but the weekday landscape will change radically. For newspaper publishing teams there are some strategy models we’ve put together – email me for more information:

Earl Wilkinson
Director, International Newspaper Marketing Association

The newspaper is dead. Long live the newspaper.

Print may be where capital is generated, but is the emerging digital channels where the audience is. Newsmedia companies have to develop multi-channel audience strategies if they are to have a place at the media table of 2012 (not a misprint: 2012).

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