More than a dozen reports from 2008-2009 were presented and analyzed by Indian freelance journalist Sridala Swami from WAN-IFRA's Shaping the Future of the Newspaper project.
She detailed the relationship between growing technologies and monetization. Editorial content management systems can enhance quality, reduce costs, ease the use of blogging, social networking, and sharing. Newspapers by their nature already have print, and they also have access to online, so the real opportunity is to intergrate and "get a lot more bang for your buck."
François Nel, director of Journalism Leadership Programmes at the University of Central Lancashire in the United Kingdom. Photo: Brian Powers, Western Integrated Media
Many newspapers have been outsourcing much of their work to other countries, including their advertising, to reduce costs. For outsourcing to succeed, publishers should analyze the proccesses of each of their departments in order to to clearly identify which functions are appropriate to outsource. Newspapers that are growing are focusing on strengthening credibility and audience focus. Media audiences crave content that is tailored to them which can be discovered through reader research and by combining consumer databases.
Though print is still one of the main sources for news, digital media is growing by double digits worldwide, in both usage and revenue. Advertising in the digital media world is also growing in all aspects. The use of digital media varies from each market and it is important to understand what type of digital media use is best for your audience. New technology in the mobile market is giving newspapers the chance to actively engage their readers more than ever. Mobile usage, globally, is expected to reach 3.9 billion by the end of this year and 4.9 billion by 2012. Mobile markets must establish their position in the marketplace before monetization can begin.
This year SFN conducted a four part survey of industry leaders worldwide to discover their attitudes and expectations in the changing media environment.
The results were presented Wednesday morning at the World Newspaper Congress by Martha Stone, SFN director, and François Nel, director of Journalism Leadership Programs at the University of Central Lancashire in the United Kingdom. The study was conducted in cooperation with Lanchashire and the Norwegian School of Management.
The survey's goals were to:
1. Profile publishers and industry executives: There were 653 participants, largely from Nordic countries where such research has been going on for a number of years. The majority of newspapers represented were paid (83 percent) rather than free, most were national rather than region or local, and most were daily papers.
2. Determine the state of revenue-making in the past fiscal year: 28 percent of respondents said overall revenue is down by more than 20 percent. A quarter said revenue is down by 11-20 percent, and another quarter down by one to ten percent. The biggest driver for decline: decrease in print advertising and lower subscription numbers. Online revenue was up but not enough.
3. Analyze respondents plans for revenue-making: A majority reported they need 6-20 percent of revenues to come from sources outside of print (especially in North America and northern Europe). Over the next five years, they said they need to increase outside revenue from other than printing activities. How ready are they to embrace change in their businesses? They said the importance of innovating is widely known, but few felt employees feel the urgency. (32 percent strongly, 40 percent somewhat, and 28 percent neutral).
4. Concrete plans respondents are working on to reach revenue goals: Among developed and developing countries, large and small companies, the majority rate product development highest on the list of investments for the future. Profitability is the obvious objective and an aggressive efficiency strategy must be made. The top three costs for newspapers, totaling 65 percent of their expenditures, are materials, printing, and distribution. New technology, such as the mobile market, web TV, web radio, and new distribution and production services can help lower these costs. Priorities have been given to new business development and innovation, advertising sales, and e-business.
Dietmar Schantin, executive director of the Publishing, Editorial and General Management Business Unit for WAN-IFRA, presented a number of research reports that IFRA conducted before the WAN-IFRA merger. One of those reports was the Future of Technology and Communication in which the study looked into scenarios of how technologies will evolve.
"We published this report in 2007, and just as a capsule of how quickly technology is changing in our world, we made a road map of how technology will develop over the next 15 years, looking at how consumers will be 'wired' or not wired with Wimax, triple play, mobiles and more. We thought we might be in a dreamland with some of these scenarios. In fact, just two years later, some of things we predicted have already happened. So it just underscores how quickly technology is developing and how critical it is for publishers to be aware of how their users are embracing emerging technologies," he said.
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