Posts Tagged ‘newspapaers’

Back To A Print Media Future

Thursday, July 12th, 2018

 

When you are skiing down a slope into a descending fog and suddenly lose sight of the blue, red or green piste signs, a sudden “fear” engulfs experienced and inexperienced skiers. That very same “fear” is pervading management in most global print media companies. The fear that erodes trust in their own judgement. Talking to BBC broadcaster, Evan Davis, last week about what advice he would give to a 24 year old “Evan” considering a career in journalism today. His honest response was that he couldn’t see a viable career path in mainstream broadcast, print or digital media, at least one that is reasonably remunerated. “It’s is nearly all in an irreversible decline.”Traditional reference points have gone or are heavily obscured (distributors, customers, advertisers and so forth).

The future is a divergence into two dominant forms,

  1. “Convenience Media”, where the customer experience is all about shorter, snappier bite-sized reading, knowledge and entertainment.
  2. “Immersive Media”, where the  customer is able to direct their passion, energy and time towards in-depth learning, knowledge acquisition and entertainment.

It is about two axis: “speed” of absorbing what I need to now (convenience media ) and the “customer experience”, how easily does it conform to each customer’s preferences.

A world where “quality” is THE key determinant in attracting customers, converting them into paying subscribers and building loyalty.

Look at at The Wall Street Journal. 2.5 million daily newspaper readers are roughly split 50/50 print versus digital. The European and Asian  print versions ceased in 2017 largely driven by the impact of changes in advertisers’ behaviour, on the management’s judgement. The future they scream is all about an adaptive paywall, allowing users to test-drive the digital offerings, and through targeted global promotion and offers to lure them as subscribers into a vast array of offerings including the WSJ+ Benefits program. Yet old habits die hard.

Reading a print newspaper is both the easiest form of convenience media and immersive media for an urban dweller. I can pick it up, put it down at any point, no need to tap into a backlit screen to access it, no need to squeeze it onto a narrow picture frame, no tired eyes and an easy way to “gift it” to customers in a company waiting rooms. A three-dimensional brand offering.  In their wisdom, the WSJ have struck out that option for its’ European and Asian audiences. The reality is that a reliance on higher tech is creating a lower touch customer experience, less brand loyalty, less volition for advertisers to spend and increasing irrelevance in Europe and Asia.  Why would you do that unless you are paralysed by fear of the future, you default to cost saving, increasing consolidation and reducing customer choice in a multi-media world?  Think bigger.

I am with Tyler Brûlé, Editor-in-Chief of media publication, Monocle, high quality print media has a very strong future in a commercial world so long as management don’t stop trusting their own judgement.

© James Berkeley 2018. All Rights Reserved.