I was recently reading an article in Monocle magazine about a newspaper in Norway, Dagens Naringsliv, http://www.dn.no/ which targets the premium end of the news market with their printed editions with thorough, quality, investigative journalism whilst utilising their website & tablet editions for breaking and up to the minute news & comment. Could this be the future for newspapers? Will printed paper stand for quality like it once did when the internet and digital devices are ubiquitous? In my opinion we are seeing this trend to an extent with magazines already.
It’s no new concept however that in advertising and media we need to look beyond just the product itself as a basis for our strategy. In our over saturated & communicated market, this is no longer enough. Even if we have the best product we now need to look at how the product is positioned in the minds of the receivers/consumers to really find our space in the market. Technology and the internet are forcing newspapers into a transition phase where their old model of being a printed advertising delivery system where journalism takes a back seat is rapidly becoming obsolete. Readership is dropping as people turn to the internet for their daily news rather than the traditional printed edition.
Could a new product & positioning strategy perhaps help to both revive the printed edtions and innovate the business model into the future? With some clever positioning and quality content this could be the case. I’m sure there will always be people willing to pay for quality journalism on a tangible medium such as paper, especially if we can make people feel more sophisticated for doing so. Let’s face it, we by nature are tactile creatures and there is something about the feeling of a good quality paper stock in your hands that no amount of digital technology can replicate.
So how could a newspaper go about doing this? For a starters it would most likely take a refresh of brand design and some self promotion.
For the printed editions the below points could be considered:
- Improve the quality of the content (look at longer form journalism, perhaps investigative content & content with strong editorial influence)
- Improve the quality of the paper stock
- Consider the distribution quantity (perhaps reducing the printed circulation and targeting specific geographic regions to control costs)
- Consider the distribution channels (could the channels be more carefully considered to portray a premium image?)
- Increase the price to reflect a premium pricing strategy
Then, back it up with an “always on” site which can be viewed across multiple devices from laptops to tablets or mobile. Content here could be up to the minute, with far less editorial control & could cover a wider variety of stories & commentary. As you compete on a global scale online, keeping content curated to the region your printed in would most likely serve best against competition from strong international news powerhouses. Paywalls should most likely become the norm for certain content here also.
All this aside, the biggest challenge facing the industry is that with the web it is impossible to monetise to the same extent as print since the advertising space isn’t as valuable. Unfortunately for them, I doubt this hurdle will ever be able to be overcome, they may simply never be as profitable as they once were and the focus must go back to quality content. As it should be.