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5 keys to the emerging hope for publishers amid transformation

20 December 2012 · By Earl J. Wilkinson

INMA “News Media Outlook” report points way to growth road map that includes filling the print advertising hole, core competencies, a fervent print audience, print + digital ecology, and smartphones as the big audience opportunity.

The exponential changes that technology will bring to how information is consumed in the next five years requires a relentless drive by news publishers today to diversify revenue streams and take advantage of the unique synergies of print and digital platforms.

By now, I hope you know this is the lead to the story in my recently released report, “News Media Outlook 2013: The Print + Digital Dynamic in Exponential Times.”

The report has gotten ferocious feedback — mostly positive, some questioning conclusions and tone. I’m happy with any reaction because it was a report designed to provoke.

If you are an INMA member, you can judge for yourself by downloading a free copy of the report here. If you are not a member, you can order the report online here.

What I want to leave you with as we conclude 2012 is something the news industry has had little of in recent years: hope.

I believe that if you look across best practices worldwide, a road map is emerging based on five principles:

  • Fill the print advertising hole: The hole left by print advertising can be filled with at least 10 revenue opportunities. There is no publisher in the world doing all 10.

  • Core competencies: The key to success in revenue diversification is the total focus on core competencies and letting those competencies drive portfolio development.

  • Fervent print audience: Digital is the future, but even in horribly disrupted national markets there remains a passionate, robust market of print readers that refuse to shift platforms. Capitalise on that passion.

  • Print + digital: It is not about “print vs. digital.” It is about “print + digital,” a hybrid ecology where honesty about platform values can elevate the standing of your brand.

  • Smartphones: Smartphones represent your new NIE programme. Users about to come on board are disproportionately young, middle class, aspirational, and they want nothing to do with your print newspaper. Skate to the puck, publishers.

As we enter the holiday season worldwide, know that hope is alive and well in the news industry. We simply must be relentless in accelerating our transformation to multi-media companies to keep up with the high expectations associated with exponential times.

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About Earl

Earl J. Wilkinson is executive director and CEO of INMA. In his interactions with INMA members worldwide, Earl has one of the broadest views of newspapers of anyone serving our industry today. He is a trendspotter and a leading advocate for cultural change, transformation, and innovation. This blog represents his unique view of the emerging global news media industry.

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