I have long been interested in the publishing industry and it is no surprise to me that media groups and distributors are falling into the same trap that the music and film business fell into some time ago, mainly their lack of business accumen and their inability to turn pageviews into revenue.
So what’s the problem? Many newspaper websites already deliver more unique and niche content than their paper counterparts, so why aren’t media groups turning a profit from their websites?
From asking friends and colleagues I get the impression that people are loyal to a particular paper – given the choice of which paper to buy, they regularly purchase the same title.
When asked what news they read online a slew of answers are returned.
What does this tell me? That online users are less loyal and more likely to visit a range of news sources, as well as their favoured paper.
Is there an opportunity here?
Perhaps you’re news site is now going to get a broader range of readers and ultimately more page views. This then opens the door to a range of advertisers who will want to target readers based on your content.
This is actually a unique position for advertisers as they can get more accurate feedback compared to traditional media campaigns.
Newspapers should understand and accept that new technology is not the enemy but is rather the latest opportunity to grow their businesses.
How do they do this? By listening to their audience.
The editor might have ultimate control on content but it has always been the reader who has the most influence over a paper. For example, if that editor does not pander to the interests of their readship, sales of that paper would decline as no one would want to read content they’re not interested in. The successful news sites are those that cater for all interests, but there is still room for niche sites.
I’ll leave you with this thought:
Do you like the newspaper or do you like reading the paper? If your answer is the latter then online news is perfect for you.