Pulp and Paper Canada

Newspapers in the Future: Evolution toward a multi-dimensional leisure product

November 1, 2002  By Pulp & Paper Canada

The World Association of Newspapers [WAN] highlights the following issues in their project “Shaping the Future of the Newspaper:”The Value Driven Newspaper focuses on how to cultivate the loyalty and …

The World Association of Newspapers [WAN] highlights the following issues in their project “Shaping the Future of the Newspaper:”

The Value Driven Newspaper focuses on how to cultivate the loyalty and regularity of readers and advertisers in order to increase revenue with less resource use. Better relationships with both reader and advertiser to dramatically raise yield, as well as research to better understand customer needs, are key factors that can lead to new revenue streams through product development.


Editorial Measurement addresses the issue of raising the performance level of the content providers. These are mostly soft issues that aim to improve editorial content and delivery to more effectively meet the needs of the consuming reader.

Strategies for a Converging World is about benefits of adopting a convergence policy. The key is not just to print content but to also distribute content in all platforms, and to find the synergy between them. The benefits of convergence include reaching new markets [particularly the young and those outside the traditional market areas], increasing information consumption, widening advertising opportunities, increasing brand recognition, better use of the newspaper’s vast archives, as well as continued cost reduction.

Internet Strategies for Newspapers Revisited: The provocative title for this WAN report indicates a changing landscape and that most publishers are still struggling to determine how best to exploit the Internet. Reaching into mature markets is cited as one possibility, which may be facilitated by the counter-intuitive fact that an aging population is the fastest growing segment of the Internet population. Advertising effectiveness is a primary driver for newspapers where the key statistics show that: advertising spending on the Internet is projected to level off to less than 4% of all media advertising spending; GDP per capita in various regions is a driver for ad revenue per copy.

The Tailored Newspaper describes how some newspapers are tailoring their products to differing communities with respect to interests and geography; there is much more opportunity for demographic segmentation. For the advertiser, the newspaper captures the highly desirable educated and influential demographic. The globalization of journalism is another trend, where access to global issues is in demand.

Why is this important?

A newspaper is not solely about delivering news; it is evolving into primarily a leisure product. If you want news, there is an increasing array of electronic tools that will deliver timely information or facts [sic]. The newspaper is in fact, misnamed; it is a holdover from times past. It has evolved into a convenient leisure product for thought and reflection. It satisfies our higher needs for information, credibility, clarity, diversity, discovery, analysis, understanding, meaning, context and community. Electronic forms do not easily duplicate the newspaper’s unique attributes of portability, large scan browsability format, security and informed commentary. This is where the future lies for newspapers. To secure this future, manufacturers and suppliers should strive to devise value propositions for the whole newspaper value-chain. This must go beyond the needed operational effectiveness, to include strategies that will involve partnerships with the many other stakeholders in the newspaper value chain.

Alan R. Procter is an international consultant helping organizations to “futureize” their business strategies. He can be reached at futureviews@alanprocter.com

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