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Posts Tagged ‘newspapers’

Newspaper sales continue to decline, as online growth builds

March 20th, 2013

2013 has been a difficult year for the newspaper industry with press regulation post-Leveson enquiry and falling sales, but online growth offers a ray of light.

As we await the latest ABCs, a look back at last month’s figures show a sharp contrast in the outlook for newspapers online and offline.

Overall, total national daily circulation was down 8.32% to 8,240,400 over 12 months:

  • The Times suffered the least with circulation down just 0.94%
  • The Mirror fell 5.91%
  • The Daily Mail lost 5.97%
  • The Telegraph was down 6.52%
  • The Guardian shrunk 10.37% putting it below 200,000 circulation
  • The Sun fell by 11.63%
  • The Star dropped by 13.19%
  • The Independent reported a 28.56% fall

The one winner, i was up 12.7%, helped by a 20p cover price.

However, online it’s a very different story.

According to last month’s Audit Bureau of Circulations figures all national newspaper sites reported double-digit month-on-month growth in January.

In brief:

Mail Online added nearly 1 million daily unique browsers month-on-month to end up with nearly 8 million – a new traffic record. The Mail site recorded a 13% rise compared with December to reach an average 7,977,039.

Guardian.co.uk also set a new traffic record with 4,319,370 average daily unique browsers, an increase of 17% month-on-month, helped by record video views that rose 40% from December to January to 11.3m across the month.

Telegraph.co.uk was up 11% month-on-month to 3,129,599 average daily unique browsers.

Sun.co.uk and Mirror Group Digital recorded 1,816,106 and 1,064,924 average daily unique browsers respectively, equivalent to month-on-months rise of 16% and 24%.

Independent.co.uk reported a 25% increase from January to 1,214,144 average daily unique browsers.

In terms of the free papers, The Evening Standard saw daily average browsers increase 45% month-on-month to 207,484 and Metro.co.uk recovered after a traffic dip in December following the launch of a more mobile-friendly site. Average daily browser numbers bounced back to 260,119.

We wait to see how the current figures look, but my bet is the trends will be much the same with online continuing to build and offline looking decidedly shaky.

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Internet Ad Spend up 12% in Q1

July 11th, 2012

Nielsen‘s Global AdView Pulse report has been published this week. It focuses on ad spend across the board including TV, newspapers, radio, outdoor, Internet, and cinema all of which saw an increase in ad spend in the beginning of 2012 compared to last year, with the exception of magazines.

Television remains the biggest spend focus, but Internet advertising saw the highest overall increase, up 12.1% in the first quarter of this year, in comparison to television, which grew by 2.8%, radio 7.9% and outdoor 6.4%.

Internet Ad spend growth was particularly notable in Europe at 12.1%, Latin America 31.8% and the Middle East & Africa 35.2%.

TV grew by 4% in North America, second only to outdoor, and 7.5% in Latin America. In the Middle East and Africa, TV ad spend grew by 33.8%.

Print ad spend in magazines declined by 1.4%, but newspapers grew 3.1%. In Latin America both media grew 7.6% and 10.3%, respectively, and 3.6% and 5.4%, respectively in Asia Pacific.

Although the economic climate continues to look anything but secure, online ad spend and in fact ad spend across the board is mostly up and showing stable growth, which Nielsen puts down to strong consumer confidence.

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Guardian’s digital focus reflects the general trend, but without a Paywall

June 17th, 2011

Yesterday’s announcement that The Guardian has made a £33m cash loss over the last year is yet more proof, if any were needed, that newspapers are continuing to struggle in the face of declining advertising and growing competition in providing news first and fast.

To be precise the results for the year ending 31 March showed that revenues at Guardian News & Media fell to £198m last year compared with £221m the year before. Recruitment advertising also fell by £41m over the past four years.

Newspaper publishers worldwide have taken different approaches to recovering lost revenue streams, ranging from the obvious option of charging for online content, which has worked for specialist publications such as The FT and WSJ, but not so much for those that are not differentiated from free competitors, i.e. The Times.

The Guardian’s response, or at least the Guardian Media Group’s (GMG) response is to focus on a “digital-first” strategy, with a view to doubling digital revenues to nearly £100m by 2016.

Guardian editor, Alan Rusbridger said: “By becoming a digital-first organisation, we’re taking the next natural step, one which we believe all newspapers will eventually have to take.”

This will inevitably mean job losses, but no details were given yesterday.

A digital first approach makes sense for The Guardian as although its hard copy may have a modest readership in comparison to competitors, its online entity is usually one of the top three in the UK.

Therefore, the Guardian’s focus over the next five years will be to reallocate £25 ($40.24) million investment to digital areas, which was originally earmarked for print. The direct affect of this digital focus will be to shrink the printed newspaper away from breaking news and in to a smaller, less resource-intensive edition that leads on analysis, all by March 2012.

This move is based on research that showed that half of readers read the newspaper in the evening, and the aim is to create a title that would be “as relevant at 9am as 9pm“, meaning news becomes less of a focus.

Quotes by Guardian Media Group’s CEO Andrew Miller, given to Paid Content, also offer a refreshingly honest insight into the issues facing newspaper publishing: “We now have a financial imperative we didn’t have before. The financial pressure all newspapers are facing through the shift is such that our losses are increasing and I can’t see a way of those not decreasing without first making ourselves digital-first.

“All newspapers will ultimately exit print. But we’re putting no timeframe on that. This is about repositioning the business to be digital-first. I don’t know if anyone’s said that before at a major newspaper. It’s about finding the right format for newspapers in our portfolio.”

So instead of going for the paid content route, The Guardian will try to grow its audience in the U.S where it’s New York readers especially have become important, meaning more ad revenue potential.

Andrew Miller confirmed: “In a digital environment, the trick is to generate lots of business. America will be a core part of that, but so will Soulmates (The Guardian’s dating service) … our digital revenue on recruitment now is greater than from print, we want to build on that. The corollary is a move in to U.S. classified ads, as well as the display market.”

The Guardian is also in a comparatively strong position compared to its rivals as it is owned by a trust and supported by two publishing businesses. To put that into perspective, GMG has cash and investment fund reserves of £197.5m available, which has grown by £12m over the last year.

This approach from the Guardian will be keenly monitored by its competitors, who in the main have simply thrown up a paywall in an attempt to stem the tide of losses, and with limited success.

A real focus on analysis in the hard copy and news and engagement online makes sense, and I hope this can be a viable future for a newspaper publisher that has consistently broken new ground online.

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Bad news sells. Is social media changing this?

February 12th, 2010

This week I caught an interview with Alastair Campbell on ITV’s Loose Women, promoting his new book Maya. Within the interview Campbell (who formerly wrote for the Daily Mirror) suggested that social networking is inverting the core principle of newspaper journalism, i.e. bad news sells, and replacing it with a more balanced view of the world.

In my view he’s right. Traditionally we might have bought our favourite tabloid or broadsheet on the way to work, or selected the paper with the most grabbing front page headline. Pre-social media, we’d have been blissfully unaware of how our intake of news was being controlled by an editorial agenda that dictates bad news sells. Journalists are trained in how to tease out of any story an angle that conveys fear, sex, drama etc. A story that simply reports ‘good news’ would never get past any half-decent news editor.

Today however, ‘social’ media means that we have access to news that has not been written by journalists or broadcasters. Many high profile bloggers have no journalist training, and so take a much fresher, unbiased approach to news reporting.

Websites such as Delicious and Digg enable people to bookmark and share content from the highest profile blog through to the most obscure and niche. It’s human nature to want to share good news, and so with no motivation to ‘sell’, those consuming news through social sites are likely to be faced with more ‘good’ news that then would have been traditionally.

This is good news for brands and the PR industry as a whole. It makes it more possible for a brand to communicate its good news, and if it is liked by its community, the news will be shared. This doesn’t remove the need for a strong news hook, but that hook can now be a positive one.

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