Newspapers must ‘evolve’ to survive
Thu, 06 Sep 2012 2:40p.m.
By Lloyd Burr
A prominent UK media strategist says if newspapers are to survive in New Zealand they’ll need to undergo their biggest evolution in the history of the medium.
Peter Thomson, founder of UK media advisory agency M2M, says despite predictions of newspapers’ pending doom, the medium will thrive if it learns to adapt.
Mr Thomson is in New Zealand ahead of the New Zealand Herald’s historic move to a smaller, compact paper format.
He says New Zealand’s newspaper marketplace is unique compared to the rest of the world, with a diverse range of local papers.
But they have been struggling to find solutions to deal with – and monetise – their online news offerings.
“Newspapers are starting to confront these issues and they are going through a massive period of evolution – the biggest in their history,” he says.
“I’m convinced they are going to come out of it stronger and better than they ever have before.”
But there’s a catch. Users will have to get used to paying for news, rather than getting it for free.
“News is not a free product. It costs money to produce news and in no other industry would you be expected to produce great content and give it away for free.
“Why should people invest in great journalism and give it away for free?” he says.
Mr Thomson says newspaper companies often ask him how to monetise online content.
His answer: quality journalism and extra online content not available in the newspaper.
“Whether that is deeper analysis or better photography or building forums or running games and competitions,” he says.
Mr Thomson says pay walls are an option but not ideal for all organisations.
“One size won’t fit all. There will be different solutions for different papers… [but they’ll] learn how to monetise different elements,” he says.
Another option is newspapers teaming up with television news providers.
“In the future, TV companies and newspaper companies are going to work much more closely together. I think there is going to be much more collaboration between the different mediums.”
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8/09/2012 7:01:54 p.m.
David Gorton wrote:
Thought provoking and Insightful advice from Mr Thomson.
"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently."
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