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Paperweek International 2003: In Newsprint, Teamwork is the Key


March 1, 2003
By Pulp & Paper Canada

A strong synergy between paper suppliers and customers is vital to the survival of both the newspaper and pulp and paper industries.”I truly believe we have to work together to survive — it’s more vi…

A strong synergy between paper suppliers and customers is vital to the survival of both the newspaper and pulp and paper industries.

“I truly believe we have to work together to survive — it’s more vital than ever,” said Globe and Mail’s VP, Andrew Ritchie, speaking at the FPAC Open Forum during EXFOR 2003.

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Ritchie explained that advertisers expect more from newspapers but they are not willing to absorb year-on-year rate increases, due to their eroding margins. Advertisers demand more colour in newspapers and better quality.

He said print waste has increased as a result of high-colour content in newspapers. What this means to the newsprint supplier, Ritchie said, is more demand for better quality newsprint to maximize efficiency on press.

“My printers don’t tolerate sub-standard newsprint. They just send it back to the mill.”

Ritchie also stressed that long-term partnership and an honest working relationship are more important now that the industry is hurting. He compared the North American industry to its European counterpart, and suggested that the great north has a lot to learn from their Atlantic neighbors.

“In North America, when newsprint price is strong, media owners complain,” he explained. “In Europe they don’t do that –they always find a middle ground and they have a long term relationship.”

Newspaper circulation is down all over North America the past year, and it is putting great pressure not only to the media companies, but also to the pulp and paper industry. Ritchie said the future doesn’t look too good either, so the industry can expect more bumps ahead.

It is hard to give an outlook of the industry, since the trend is not consistent.

Ritchie said the newspaper industry has seen newspaper sections being cut and free subscriptions being stopped to cut costs. “Our cost have dramatically eaten into our profit.”

Classified lineage is in decline, he said, because of economic conditions. “Ads for jobs and second-hand cars are dramatically moving to the Internet.”

“There are less players in the market, and lots of potential for change,” said Ritchie. “Large newspaper groups have considerable debt and are still dealing with the impact of media convergence.”

Aggressive cost-cutting measures have been put in place by most newspaper groups in response to falling ad revenue.

Ritchie said there is still movement in the ownership of different newspapers and media groups and it will greatly affect the future of both industries.

“Again, it makes it difficult for long-term partnerships.”

He said he cannot stress the importance of teamwork and long-term partnerships enough, because that is the key to overcome the bumps that both industries are facing.

“Partnerships are more important than ever because we’ve got this yo-yo effect in our industries,” he said, stressing that a movement in one industry directly affects the other. “There must be a solution in the middle ground — it’s hard, but must be done to survive.”#text2#


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