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
“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.