Friday, February 20, 2009

Focusing on newspaper print, ad revenues in difficult times

HOW to maintain and enhance print and advertising revenues - two of the key issues facing newspapers in the global financial crisis - will be the subject of two back-to-back global press industry conferences to be held in Barcelona, Spain, in May 2009.
According to the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), although digital innovation is a primary area of newspaper industry development, print and advertising continue to fund these new ventures, as well as being the profit centers for the vast majority of newspaper companies, even in these tough times.
The new “Power of Print” Conference and Expo, to be held 27 - 28 May, and the annual World Newspaper Advertising Conference and Expo, to be held on 28 - 29 May in the same venue, will showcase the best examples of revenue generating and cost-saving innovations at newspaper companies today.

Some highlights:

* The art of balancing print and digital, a presentation by Mikael Pentikäinen, president of Sanoma News in Finland, who has introduced a “long tail” strategy at Sanoma House, the publishers of the Helsingin Sanomat.

* According to Pentikäinen, the modern newspaper is like a portfolio of specialised magazines, but with one brand and style of content. Pentikäinen will speak about the factors used to create such portfolios and, perhaps most importantly, how they create commercial value.

* The “Individuated” Newspaper ­ or the personal newspaper ­ may finally be within striking distance as user-content selection evolves, workflow systems improve, digital printing develops and distributors grow accustomed to new practices, says Peter Vandevanter, VP for targeted products for MediaNews Group in the US.

* The individuated newspaper would make possible very targeted advertising and begin to compete with direct mail advertising, a category which has grown tremendously in the last 10 years.

* Profiting from hyper-targeted print publications, a presentation by Martha Stone, director of the WAN Shaping the Future of the Newspaper project, who will explain how three newspaper companies in Asia, the Americas and Europe have successfully launched a variety of highly targeted products. Stone will show how the companies conceived, developed and launched the products and involved editorial, advertising, marketing, circulation, production and printing departments.

The research is a preview of the soon-to-be-published Power of Print report, a part of the SFN annual series of strategic reports for WAN members.

* Printcasting: People-Powered Magazines, which will examine the “printcasting” experiment in print publishing that is fuelled by blogs and self-serve advertising. The project, conceived by Dan Pacheco, founder of, is operated by The Bakersfield Californian, which has five years of experience with niche-focused print and online products.
Printcasting makes it possible for anyone to create a printable PDF publication online, whether or not they have their own content. Local bloggers and news organisations make their content available for printcasts in exchange for a share of advertising revenue that is generated through a self-serve advertising tool.

* Ten lessons from four age-specific youth-targeted newspapers in France from François Dufour, editor and founder of Playbac Presse, which has created four age-specific newspapers that have considerable attention among young people. According to Dufour, young people want news of interest to them and their age range, in colour and in a small format. They want to read for10 minutes a day, almost every day. They like cartoons, humour, photos, headlines, infographics, and opinion. They want to be taken seriously, but not in a serious manner.

* Evaluating and restructuring the sales department, a case study of the Manchester Evening News in the UK, which has reconstructed its commercial team and developed an excellent model for any publishing company that wants to reduce costs and increase efficiency.

The MEN model is based on honest dialogue between managers and staff, a clear flow of information and clear understanding of performance, and rewards and motivation to guarantee success. The presentation will describe both the process and the outcomes.

* Concept to design to market: the road to successful product development, which will examine the new lifestyle publications developed by The Sydney Morning Herald and the Sun-Herald that have brought in close to AUS$5 million (2.54 million Euros) of new revenue in under 12 months.

Far from being standard “advertorials” or special reports, these publications are high quality customised environments for select clients and are charged at a premium, says Kylie Davis, managing editor of the newspapers. She contends that customised editorial products are needed in today's market, and will describe the Fairfax approach, the editorial issues, how they were resolved, and the results.


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