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Updated: December 3, 2009 03:21 IST

New product development tops media publishers’ list

Y. Mallikarjun
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Martha Stone, Director of Wan-IFRA’s SFN project. Photo: Mohammed Yousuf
Martha Stone, Director of Wan-IFRA’s SFN project. Photo: Mohammed Yousuf

Even as the need to integrate multimedia platforms to cater to diverse audience was highlighted at the ongoing 62nd World Newspaper Congress, ‘a Future and Change’ survey among the publishers and executives rated new product development highest on the list of investments for future.

Giving a brief summary of the survey at a session on ‘Shaping the Future of the Newspaper’ here on Wednesday, Martha Stone, director, Wan-IFRA’s SFN project and Francois Nel, Director of Journalism Leadership Programmes at University of Central Lancashire, U.K. said 28 per cent of the 653 respondents (largely from Nordic countries) mentioned that overall revenue was down by more than 20 per cent, while another quarter said it was down by 11-20 per cent. Decrease in print advertising and lower subscription numbers were the main reasons behind declining revenues.

Revenue recovery

Even though online revenue increased, it was not enough. On plans for revenue recovery, a majority reported that 6-20 per cent revenue came from non-traditional sources (outside print). They said they needed to increase outside revenue, ranging from 21 per cent to 50 per cent in the next five years. About the readiness to embrace change, the respondents said the importance of innovating was widely known, but few felt employees feel the urgency (32 per cent strongly agreed, 40 per cent somewhat and 28 per cent were neutral).

Among developed and developing countries, both large and small companies, a majority rated product development highest on the list of investments.

While 65 per cent of newspapers expenditure went for materials, printing and distribution, new technology such as the mobile market, web TV, web radio and new distribution and production services could help lower the costs, the delegates were told. Business development, innovation, advertising sales and e-business have been accorded priority.

Growth of digital media

It was pointed out though print was one of the main sources for news, digital media was growing by double digits worldwide in both usage and revenue. New technology in the digital media was giving newspapers the chance to actively engage their readers more than ever. Mobile usage, globally, is expected to reach 3.9 billion by the end of this year and 4.9 billion by 2012.

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