Newspaper industry needs new strategies

Ho: ‘Content is still king. The newspaper industry is a reliable source of information.’

KUALA LUMPUR: Although circulation sales of the newspaper industry in Malaysia are still strong, the industry needs to reboot its strategies towards readers’ interest with regard to content.

“Content is still king. The newspaper industry is a reliable source of information and advertisements need to be more sensitive towards readers’ needs (with regard) what they want to read,” said Navigator Business Academy founder and principal trainer David Ho at a talk held by the Malaysian Newspaper Publishers Association recently.

He unveiled the industry’s future trends in his presentation entitled Malaysia Media Landscape Outlook 2016: Print Revenue Opportunities. Over the last five years, Ho said print circulation sales worth US$620mil grew at 3.6% while its digital counterpart, with US$20mil sales, was still comparatively small. However, it had a higher growth rate of 9.5%.

He pointed out that this proved that people were still buying newspapers and the industry’s sunset remains very far on the horizon. Ho added that even at the global level, newspaper sales were still strong at US$65bil, even though it has been slowly trending down.

Ho said the newspaper industry needed to know its readers and their demands.

“Thus, the data of readers and feedbacks are important. This could not be effectively collected via print but could be done via website and e-paper through tablets and mobile phones,” he said.

Ho said the channels of selling content were secondary compared with the content itself.

“People will buy if the content meets their expectation regardless of the platforms.

“But, as data is easily obtained via cyber platforms such as tablets and mobiles, more investment is needed to develop the avenue to optimally monetise e-paper,” he said.

In terms of advertising, Ho said the country’s newspaper companies needed to ramp up its consumer revenue to match its heavy reliance on advertising.

Advertising sales comprise about two-thirds of newspaper revenue in this country compared to the ideal global average of 50:50. Besides content quality and platforms, Ho said circulation could also be increased via higher literacy levels and events.

In terms of advertising, Ho said it needed an evolution towards content marketing, which was essentially how advertisers made use of consumer information.

He said consumers were placing a higher trust in newspaper advertising regardless of platforms versus online marketing.

This is proven from Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising involving 30,000 respondents from 60 over countries.

“Consumers’ decision-making is strongly influenced by content marketing,” he said.

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