Further cost reductions and efficiency measures could see APN New Zealand outsource up to 24 jobs overseas, and has resulted in the sale of four of its Capital Community Newspapers.
Marketing, advertising & media intelligence
There have been plenty of changes at APN NZ of late, with the relaunch of the Herald last year and restructures of both the editorial and sales and marketing teams. And now the Herald on Sunday, the country's best performing newspaper, is getting its turn with what editor Bryce Johns calls "a complete revamp of the paper’s look and feel, and improved content mix".
As news of APN NZ's decision to sell off a few of its regional assets surfaced yesterday, news also surfaced about changes at News Works New Zealand, the umbrella organisation responsible for profiling the industry's print and digital brands, which has restructured to "better serve the changing needs of the newspaper industry as it gears up for 2013" and create a more commercial focus to better promote its 30 national and regional news brands across the country.
Anyone got Warren Buffett's number? APN New Zealand Media has announced it has made a strategic decision to put three regional publishing businesses—The Star in Canterbury, the Oamaru Mail and the Capital Community Newspaper group in Wellington—on the market.
New Zealand's largest national newspaper, The Sunday Star Times, has had a pretty rough time of it recently, with some fairly concerning readership and circulation results. But an editorial rejig is in process to, as Fairfax chief executive Allen Williams says, improve the newspaper and make it more appealing and authoritative, and it's also launched a new campaign with its new agency .99 that aims to draw attention to the great content it provides.
The various 'Look At These People Having More Fun Than You at Fancy Events' sections in the nation's magazines and newspapers have a powerful pull on the often judgemental, fame seeking human animal. So, in a continuation of Lindauer’s 'Don't Worry Boys'—and in a continuation of its vow to never show the target market in the campaign—it hijacked The Sunday Star Times' ‘About Town’ (or in this case 'Around Town') social pages to show real partners despondently left at home on National Girls’ Night out last week.
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While the magazine sector recorded its third consecutive overall readership increase in the latest Nielsen CMI figures, the newspapers haven't fared quite so well, with an overall decline in total readership for all dailies and metropolitan titles that has been deemed significant by Nielsen and almost universal declines in paid circulation. But there are a couple of diamonds in the rough—particularly The Herald on Sunday and The Waikato Times—and, for the optimists, the numbers are still holding up much better than they are in comparison to many other markets.
The Australian version of the Newspaper Awards, the Caxtons, took place over the weekend, and the Kiwis more than held their own, with Special Group repeating last year's effort and coming out on top with four, and DDB, Colenso and Tourism New Zealand's Australian arm picking up two apiece.
APN went to plenty of trouble to promote the recent changes to the New Zealand Herald and nzherald.co.nz, with a fancy TVC, a host of print and digital advertising and a microsite dedicated to keeping readers and advertisers informed. All up, the campaign had a ratecard value of $4 million (although it used its own media channels extensively). And, in what could either be seen as an example of how far newspaper marketing has progressed, or an example of how the newspaper industry didn't need to do jack to maintain its readers and advertisers back in the day, it was slightly more advanced than the campaign the Herald ran to preview its last major format change in 1960.
Despite the fact the paper was smaller, the launch of the compact New Zealand Herald and its redesigned website was pretty hard to miss yesterday (and not surprisingly, given the ratecard value of the campaign was around $4 million). So how has it gone down with punters, staff and media agencies?
One of the major themes of the presentations given by Finlay Macdonald, Peter Thomson and Tim Pankhurst at the Newspaper Advertising Awards on Tuesday night was the power of journalism and the ability newspapers have to see stories through. Of course, there were some huge stories to tell in New Zealand last year, and to show how important and relevant newspapers still are, News Works NZ's agency Special Group compiled a couple of clips using content from the country's news organisations, one showing the carnage and courage in Christchurch and the other telling the tale of the Rugby World Cup from the French perspective.
There is no question the media landscape is changing and the pace of technological advancements means that change is happening more rapidly than ever. This is changing the way people live their lives and the way that they consume media. At APN we spend a lot of time listening to consumers and understanding the affect these changes have on their relationships with our news and entertainment brands. There is no denying that more and more people are reading, watching and listening to our content across print, digital and mobile platforms. But rather than seeing that as a negative trend, we believe this is a strong signal for a positive future.
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.
Over the past few months, discussions around the future of the media have come to a head, thanks in part to a couple of big announcements from the other side of the Tasman and a big one here in New Zealand too. This has brought about loads of discussion within the New Zealand industry about the role of media in society and changing trends in how consumers select and consume news. Worryingly, lots of commentators have been all too willing to eulogise New Zealand’s robust newspaper market. So I’m putting my hand up to remind you all that newspapers and magazines are alive and well in New Zealand.
APN's Martin Simons on the tabloid Herald, the inevitability of paywalls and preparing for the future
With the massive changes currently taking place in the Australian publishing scene at the moment and the steady move of readers from print to digital around the world, the newspaper business is at a crossroads. So what is the rationale behind the Herald's change to tabloid? Will New Zealand readers soon be paying for online content? And how is APN preparing for the future? We chat with APN's chief executive Martin Simons.