Newspapers are fighting a battle against declining circulations, whilst competing for revenue against new media channels. The UK’s newspapers are coming together for the first time in a project set up to look into the possibility of combining ad sales to help fight for their share of the market.
Project Juno, led by Steve Booth, has been set up initially as a “feasibility study” into how the UK’s publishers could work together to boost their income. At present, national press publishers have set aside their differences to sign up to the extensive research piece – this includes Trinity Mirror, News UK, Northern & Shell, Telegraph Media Group, Guardian Media Group, and Daily Mail & General Trust.
The rate of decline in print revenue is alarming. If nothing is done we will see even more closures – following in the footsteps of The Independent and New Day already this year – or mergers, especially if there are further substantial losses of audience in the market. If publishers really want to maintain relevance in today’s digital media landscape then something radical and transformational needs to be done. Combining sales is only the tip of the iceberg: newsbrands need to make this the first step of many if they are to survive.
The newspaper industry has become overly competitive within itself. As papers become concerned with revenue picked up by other titles, they often neglect the volume of activity that sits outside their immediate competition. UK newsbrands offer some of the highest quality content available and can provide an abundance of data and insight into their audiences. For newsbrands to not only survive, but thrive in the digital landscape, they must look at a fully aggregated, data-driven, audience-based advertising solution that offers easy access to the quality, agenda-setting content available.
This isn’t bad news for advertisers. In fact, for the project to work publishers have to guarantee that it’s not a way to gain leverage over advertisers. Publishers must force a reappraisal of newsbrands, their audiences and their advertising opportunities through product innovation, particularly when it can rival the stronghold Google and Facebook have on digital budgets. If the project’s successful we will not only have scale of availability, but scale at quality, offering an audience-based, data-driven advertising solution with proven efficiency.
As publishers put aside their differences, they will begin to work together for the advancement of their media, and they will be able to focus on new product development, leading to innovation in the newsbrand marketplace, and a wider range of solutions for advertisers.