While traditional advertising in newspapers remains under intense pressure, there are still opportunities to generate new print revenues.

Sandy MacLeod, vice president/consumer marketing & strategy at The Toronto Star, shared a number of print opportunities that may be applica­ble to your market.

 Some of those were:

  • Utility products: “Starweek” and “That’s puzzling!” Instead of eliminating the TV Books from its portfolio, Toronto Star decided do a market research that proved 50% of people were still interested in reading these books. Of those, 90% were willing to pay for it.

    So the news media company created new TV books, which were 50% thicker. And 250,000 opted in to buy these titles. The only mistake they made? The price that was set too low.
  • News products: Additional news product were created. They prepared a special New York Times 16-page section for the Saturday edition. Also, a new World section appeared in Saturday edition. Due to these enhancements, raising of the price of the product was rational and understood by consumers.
  • Reverse publishing: Two years ago, Toronto Star purchased “The Kit,” an online magazine. Today, it is a multi-platform beauty and fashion magazine that includes interactive magazine app, Web site newsletter, and weekly newspaper section.
  • Generating incremental revenue driven by producing event-specific newspapers. Because of special events, special dailies are produced for the time of festivals.
  • Star Business Club: An integrated programme that combines print online and in-touch points. Sponsors are positioned as experts in the small business field.

Summarising his speech, MacLeod shared with delegates his thoughts on what it takes to win in print:

  • Think consumer revenues as well as advertising.

  • Use panel research as an inexpensive way to test the market for new products.

  • Use focus groups to review concepts.

  • Focus on the proper allocation of resources.

  • Make room for innovation.

  • Be critical with your business plan.

  • Test, fail fast, and move on.