The Innovation International Media Consulting Group of Spain has predicted that newspapers will always be around, despite changes in the business model and content proposition.
The Group’s vice-president, Juan Senor, however, cautioned newspapers against complacency, which is the industry’s biggest threat. There was a radical transformation in the editorial and business models and newspapers should change their mindset from “doing the same stories in the old way.”
“What we are putting on the front pages is not relevant. Publications are repeating the same headlines on front pages and it is redundant,” he said while elaborating the highlights of the 2009 Global Report on Innovations in Newspapers at the 62nd World Newspaper Conference here on Thursday.
Asserting that compelling new grammar and unique journalism would always sell, he said the biggest challenge,however, was to create new narratives that could engage readers. “Journalism is about offering solutions to problems, not just narrating them,” Mr. Senor said.
He set aside the argument that Internet would kill newspapers, claiming no medium had ever killed another. “Films did not kill theatre, and so is the radio, which was not killed by television.
There was need for evolving ways where newspapers could secure more revenue through less circulation by charging more. The question was ‘how to charge,’ than ‘whether to charge or not to charge.’
“I understand newspaper is very cheap in India, but I don’t know why? Change the proposition rather than undervaluing our brand.”
The industry ‘cannot close the doors that are open. The challenge was to create new spaces with content propositions and that people would pay for what they valued. “What will the readers pay for?” They were prepared to pay for informed comment, original story and analytical opinion.
“People pay for their passions, like specialised reports — school guides, reports for those considering plastic surgery and relationship reporting. Don’t wait for them to come to you. They will find you if news is important.”
Mr. Senor wanted newspapers to re-organise the newsrooms, re-invent the content and re-evaluate the revenue streams. While compelling story-telling would be one strength of theirs, the focus should be on combining the free content like who, what, where and when with premium content pertaining to “how, why and what next.”