The debate over print versus digital isn't useful anymore, says Kevin Beatty, CEO of A&N Media and Managing Director of Associated Newspapers in the United Kingdom, in a keynote address to some 250 participants from 39 countries attending the first WAN-IFRA Digital Media Europe conference.
"We consider it pointless and an unnecessary introspection," he says. "Instead we have sought to change our business in anticipation of our customers' expectations.
"Although there remain many uncertainties, the one thing that we are sure of is that change, although always a constant, will continue at a phenomenal rate and we need to keep up."
A&N Media, the parent company of The Mail and other titles, reaches 41 percent of all adults in the UK every month across its platforms. Thanks to multimedia, newspaper companies now reach larger audiences than ever.
And these audiences are no longer described by geography, Mr Beatty says - of the 65 million unique users of Mail Online monthly, 42 percent come from outside the United Kingdom.
But building an audience isn't an end in itself, Mr Beatty says. It is interaction among its brands and platforms that is proving to be profitable. "Brand interaction builds a richer, more valuable customer profile," he says.
"Our business will only prosper in the future as it has in the past if we continue to attract engage and delight a growing readership/audience and in doing so solicit a reward, whether it is through cover price from our newspapers, delivering a valuable return on investment for our advertisers, shared insight on our customers through enriched data or even via our bourgeoning enterprise activity where sell products and services directly to our customers."