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WAN Amsterdam: What have newspapers done to build new audiences?

October 17th, 2008 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Events, Newspapers, Online Journalism

The 11th Readership Conference is addressing building new print, as well as digital audiences (not just stopping the old readers running away). So how exactly have newspapers across the world successfully built up new audiences? (Quotes and information courtesy of the WAN conference updates)

The Telegraaf in the Netherlands has used sport and social networking

  • Using Hyves.net they used the network’s ‘send to a friend’ function and a widget for users’ home pages that allowed them to see how they were performing against their friends. The contest had 170,000 participants: 110,000 through Hyves and 60,000 through the Telegraaf’s sports site, Telesport.
  • For the Olympics, the Telegraaf provided editorial content to a Hyves web section dedicated to the events which included blogs from Telegraaf reporters in Beijing and other stories from the Telegraaf sports team in Amsterdam.

Lara Ankersmit, publisher for online media, at the paper, said the partnership provided strong branding tied to popular sports events, and more than 170,000 registrations and e-mail addresses.

The Verdens Gang newspaper company in Norway has increased revenue while losing readers

  • A graph of VG’s print circulation decline over the past several years looks like a ski slope – it dropped 20 percent since 2002. But, at the same time, profit increased from 270 million Norwegian krone (31 million euros) to 365 million krone (41 million euros).
  • The approach is ‘continuous product diversification and improving production efficiency considerably’ through new prodcucts such as social networks, and doing more marketing: VG spends 10 million euros annually on market examination.
  • It pays more attention to distribution. Ensuring good product placement at sales outlet is one important focus, as is establishing new outlets, such as coffee shops.

Torry Pederson, CEO of VG said that good journalism that attracts attention, on all platforms. “Don’t cut down on journalistic resources to cover the important stories,” he said.

The Bakersfield Californian is focusing on who isn’t reading the paper

  • In five years, it went from having no weekly newspapers to having three, from no magazines to three magazines, from one website to 11 websites. It created three subsidiaries and built its own social media software.
  • Alongside market research there was commitment to invest in new product development – at least 1 per cent of revenues each.
  • New products recaptured six of the eight percentage points in consumer reach lost by The Californian. It increased non-core revenue from 1 per cent to 12 per cent.

Mary Lou Fulton, vice president of audience development at the paper said “Before, we focused primarily on the circulation, profitability and content of our daily newspaper (…) The essential shift in thinking was to become interested in who was not reading the newspaper or advertising in it. That was a big wake-up call.”

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WAN 2008: Wherever I find a power point, that’s my home…

June 4th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Newspapers, Online Journalism

A mystery blogger enjoys the comforts of the press facilities at the World Editors Forum in Gothenburg, Sweden, where there was much discussion and dismissiveness about that fly-by-night phenomenon known as the internet.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pof7Iiv5Vmc]

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WAN 2008: Le Figaro: 20% of revenues from online by 2010

Le Figaro is predicting that 20% of its revenue will be generated by its online operations by 2010.

But the French newspaper has plans to beat this, Pierre Conte, deputy managing director for new media and advertising for Le Figaro Group, told delegates at the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) conference today.

After rising from 2 million unique users to its websites to 8 million in two years, the group’s web traffic now accounts for 1 French internet user out of every four.

Last year its online revenues accounted for 13% of its total income – so how will the publisher build on this?

Gradual integration
Online success will only be achieved if all the group’s editorial teams want to take part, Francis Morel, managing director, said.

As such Le Figaro adopted an ‘invite not assign’ policy, giving journalists the opportunity to do work for the websites if they wished (though initially for no extra pay).

According to Morel merging editorial teams for print and online was seen as essential, despite concerns raised by the unions.

Journalists became increasingly enthusiastic about working for the websites and now both editorial teams are on the same floor under the same editorial head, though Morel insists this has been about building bridges and not enforced integration.

Advertising
The group has sought to recoup floundering revenues from print classifieds by making a concerted push with this advertising online, setting up a team to find advertisers for online-only.

Contextual and behavioural advertising is also being experimented with.

E-commerce and diversification
Building around the flagship portal of Le Figaro, the publisher has launched specialist sport, finance and lifestyle websites, in addition to acquiring several e-commerce sites.

Content has also been syndicated to other websites, though this is not a long-term business model, Conte says.

“This business [selling content to other websites] will continue to be weak and limited. We need to work on ad revenue. We are not reinventing anything by saying that, but we need to integrate our sales house.”

Content
News remains a priority online for all the group’s content-based websites. On the Le Figaro site a commenting function has been added to articles and submissions from users are welcomed.

Le Figaro has also set up its own TV studio to produce video clips for online and mobile.

As a word of warning, Morel stresses that the digital developments in these areas have not been at the expense of the print product.

“It is indispensable to continue to invest and focus on print, because while the internet is a key territory, it will not replace print.

“We need to be extremely cautious and prudent. The internet is a very volatile market. We need to be very flexible at any time to change our course because we do not know what tomorrow holds.”

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WAN 2008: Sweden claims highest share of advertising spend online

June 2nd, 2008 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Advertising, Newspapers

According to Tomas Brunegård, chairman of the Swedish Newspaper Publishers Association, Sweden is enjoying an online advertising market of 15 per cent of overall spend – the “highest percentage in the world” (do you know better?)

Despite its small population, Sweden has a healthy and innovative news publishing industry, online and in print. Hear more from Tomas in his speech during the opening ceremony of the 61st World Newspaper Congress in Gothenberg, Sweden today:

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OB0PX9zcSkU]

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WAN 2008: The imminent demise of print is “sheer nonsense’

June 2nd, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Newspapers

Gavin O’Reilly, president of the World Association of Newspapers, nailed his colours firmly to the print mast in his speech at the opening ceremony of the 61st World Newspaper Congress in Gothenburg, Sweden:

[youtube:http://youtube.com/watch?v=MevSx1EpRj0]

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Editor and Publisher: Press freedom remains under serious threat, WAN Says

June 2nd, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

It’s been another bad six months for press freedom around the globe, the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) concludes in a grim report released Saturday – writes E&P.

“Press freedom is under serious threat from many sources — gangs and corrupt officials in Latin America, autocratic regimes in the Middle East, conflicts in Africa, hostile governments in Asia, and from death threats and prosecutions in central Asia and Europe,” WAN said in its semi-annual review of press freedom.

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WAN 2008: Web TV Q&A with Kalle Jungkvist, editor-in-chief Aftonbladet.se

June 1st, 2008 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Events

Kalle Jungkvist chaired the digital round table of the World Newspaper Congress looking at growing multimedia audience and revenues. Journalism.co.uk talked to him after the session about the success of his newspapers web TV operation.

In your opening you said that Aftonbladet was a video rich site and that you are a rival to Swedish TV broadcasters, could you explain how?
In a single week we have about one million visitors just to the video service. Even that is bigger than the whole of the audience to the biggest commercial TV site TV4. We are the biggest on web TV.

Swedish public service television focuses on longer programmes for web TV but they don’t have the same reach.

Is yours just news programming?
We work with feeds from AP and Reuters, the same feed really that TV companies have for their news programmes. We use part of that, clip it down and re-edit it and so on.

The other part is that we have a lot of user videos, so when there is a big explosion or a bank is robbed, for example, it takes just two minutes to get videos from the users.

So we do a lot of campaigning for the readers to send those to us and not to the TV stations.

The third part is that we have team of our own, both programming and editing, and also reporters going out on big stories.

And they put packages together?
We don’t make news programmes, we use news clips. From 30 seconds to three minutes. We use small format programmes for the web, five minutes or so, that are based on fashion with our fashion reporter for example and they are starting to get very high numbers.

For the European Football Championships we have also started an 18 minute programme with our football experts.

Just a year ago it was just 30 seconds to a minute clips that were popular, now there is a whole menu that is increasing fast.

What do you put that success down to?
We stared in 1997 and have had a small video web team all the way through. But we really launched web video services in a big way two years ago.

One very important point is that TV company websites just take clips from their ordinary news service… we noticed that, for a video clip that we produce together with written text, when you integrate it into a news story the numbers go up.

We try to have moving pictures with big news stories as fast as possible and we are much faster than the TV guys.

As the clips get longer has that changed when viewers watch them?
In the afternoon people look at shorter clips then in the evening we have a prime time at eight. The same as TV. People are looking at more and watching longer formats here, using us in a different way. They are at home, they are more relaxed and we are really taking people from the traditional broadcast TV to us.

We are not stealing a big audience yet but we haven’t had this peak at eight o’clock before… a lot of young people don’t look at linear TV anymore.

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WAN 2008: ‘Newspaper phone’ launch to build audience awareness of mobile services + barriers to development of newspaper’s mobile platforms

June 1st, 2008 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Journalism, Mobile, Newspapers

The launch of the world’s first ‘newspaper’ telephone by Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN) was part of a plan to establish it as a recognised platform for news, DN’s head of mobile told an industry forum today.

DN launched the phone in partnership with Nokia and Nordic mobile service provider Telnor in December to give users instant access to the paper’s online content, Johan Brandt told the digital media roundtable at the World Newspaper Congress.

“We did this because we had three challenges [with mobile]. We had to get people to realise we had a pretty good mobile site. Many people just didn’t know that they could find news from the mobile internet, not enough people were aware of it as a channel,” he said.

“Secondly, one of the big barriers was that it’s difficult to browse the internet with a mobile, there are too many clicks… and third was ‘what does it cost to serve?’. Mobile providers charge users by megabyte. But what is a megabyte? Is it an article or a mobile TV episode. People don’t know what it’s going to cost them.”

In order to promote the newspaper portal, he added, it was important that the phone allowed users to assess DN’s mobile service in a single click and surf those web pages without incurring charges for downloading data.

The service, he added, is now attracting 50,000 unique users per month – up more than 40 per cent from last year – but there remained significant factors hampering the development of the mobile phone as an established platform to deliver news and on which newspapers can make significant revenue.

He identified a lack of standardised technology and measurement across the mobile market as the primary drawback to significant growth.

“There are no standards on the mobile market, it’s unnecessarily difficult and hard for the developers to create model services. I want to see growth from the walled garden model to a more open environment,” he said.

“Secondly, there is a lack of standards when it comes to advertising and measurement. There are different ad formats for different mobile sites. The market is fragmented and this makes advertisers frustrated and it also dwarves the mobile market’s potential in the short term.

“As a result of this there is a lack of strategic integration of marketing across mobile and other platforms for advertisers.

“There are too many pricing models for our advertisers to learn and in Sweden there are no valid or integrated tools for measurement, there are just no standards.”

In addition to this, he said, it was difficult for consumers to establish the cost of accessing data on phones and that it could prove to be a deterrent to use.

“In Sweden there are several hundred mobile phone subscriptions, with different prices for surfing. How can the user really know which subscription to get and what it costs to surf when it’s paid for by megabyte?

“I think there should be flat fees for time spent, that would make cost more predictable [for users].”

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