The newspaper industry is certainly not without its naysayers, but in spite of dwindling numbers and organisational shake ups, it’s also full of people that will gladly proclaim the ongoing vitality of the medium. In fact you can expect newspapers to emerge stronger from their current circulation woes and enter 2020 as a leaner, more valued and trusted medium than at any time in the past 50 years, according to Peter Thomson, founder and former chief executive of M2M International. And you can find out for yourself why he’s so sure when he arrives to our shores in September as a keynote speaker at the revamped News Works NZ Advertising Awards.
Thomson is adamant newspapers are “already on the comeback trail” because of their ability to “reinvent themselves as trusted brands”. And he questions how much digital information people are actually able to handle.
And if you’re looking for an example of a newspaper that has adapted to the changing media and information landscape, Thomson cites London’s afternoon daily, the Evening Standard.
“The paper’s now free, distributed from big dump bins outside underground stations. Help yourself. It used to be the place the city went to get the latest stock market quotes, but the Internet put paid to that.
“So they changed the entire dynamic of the paper, dropping down market and running more promos. Giving it away. Advertising yield leapt overnight. Daily circulation more than doubled from 350,000 copies to more than 800,000 copies.
“Soon Burger King and McDonald’s came on board with promos – brands advertising in the paper went from 200 to 800 in no time at all.”
Though he acknowledges New Zealand’s situation is different, he says it still makes for a good example of lateral thinking.
Elsewhere, he says newspapers have the added advantage of being able to filter through the plethora of information available from numerous sources to ensure readers get the relevant facts. That’s where senior journalists are key, too, because of what he says is their ability to “quickly absorb and distil complex data”.
According to Thomson, newspapers already increasingly occupy the trusted, independent and unbiased space.
“The internet in general is so huge and anyone can publish anything. And that’s the problem. How can you trust what you read online when you don’t know who wrote it? It may have been a paid blogger or some brand’s PR manager. But if it’s published by a reputable brand, that’s different.”
You can hear more about what Thomson has to say on the industry, together with Fairfax, APN and New Zealand’s independent newspaper groups, at the upcoming The Power of Journalism event. The News Works NZ event will conclude with the dishing out of gongs as part of the annual Newspaper Advertising Awards.
The Power of Journalism
Aotea Centre, Auckland
September 4, 2012
Peter Thomson 5pm
Advertising Awards 6pm
For further details and to apply for tickets go here.