The reversal of fortunes for newspapers isn’t just possible – it's already here.

Parade President ArticleHello everyone

In case you missed it, Randy Siegel, president of Parade Publications had a very interesting article in Ad Age today called Reports of Death of Papers May be Greatly Exaggerated.

As I read Mr. Siegel’s questions, I felt compelled to respond.  But there just wasn’t enough room to write in that little comment box they provide, so here I am…

It was Mr. Siegel’s premise that the future could be very bright for newspapers IF (and there are a lot of IFs) publishers would “embrace the rapidly changing forces that are fragmenting all media, then forge ahead with fortitude instead of complaining that “the good old days” are over.”

A man after my own heart 🙂 

Siegel:  “What if newspapers expand their editorial franchises and launch portfolios of print and digital products that meet the different information needs of their consumers?”

Gayle: Would that mean…give customers what they want (and then some…)  What a novel idea! You’re preaching to the converted, Mr. Siegel.  In fact, we’ve been preaching this message for years!

Siegel:  “What if newspapers start charging for the newsroom content that portals and online aggregators pilfer and profit from without paying a cent?”

Gayle:  In case you missed it, NewspaperDirect just announced support of ACAP?  This would definitely go a long way to protecting publishers’ high value content.

AdgetSiegel: “What if newspapers increase their investment in sales and marketing talent and superserve their advertisers with creative ideas and terrific service, integrating their print and online assets?”

Gayle: “Superserve advertisers!”  I love that phrase. What if newspapers could give advertisers more bang for their advertising buck?  What if customers could interact with advertisers w/o every leaving the newspaper giving publishers the retention that serves them and their advertisers?   With Adget…they can.

Siegel: “What if newspapers invest in sophisticated research tools to quantify how print ads can move product and provide superior return-on-investment value to advertisers?”

Reading MapGayle:  Have you heard about Reading Map?  NewspaperDirect’s proprietary Reading Map technology allows publishers to analyze reading patterns throughout their publications, gaining valuable insight into what elements of the publication are read most and least. This information is essential in order to better understand the impact of editorial content, layout and advertising on reading behaviour — and therefore the value provided to the reader or advertiser.

Siegel: “If advertisers can measure their sales, newspapers can do more to measure their impact at the cash register, especially with three out of four readers saying they rely on newspapers to help make purchasing decisions.”

Gayle: Imagine being able to measure the impact and result of every ad placed within a newspaper?  Combine Reading Map and Adget technologies and you’ve got the tools you need to do exactly that.

Siegel: “What if newspapers learn from MySpace and Facebook and create social-networking sites…Newspapers have a huge opportunity to leverage social media to facilitate local connections around shared passions.

PressDisplay goes socialGayle:  Great idea Mr. Siegel!  I hate to burst your bubble, but we’re already there 🙂  Have you checked out the latest release of PressDisplay.com?   “Social” is, and will continue to be, a big part of PressDisplay.com and SmartEdition ePapers.

Siegel: “What if newspapers hire more-provocative and -diverse voices, including high-school and college students, who can help create compelling content for their respective communities?”

Gayle:  At the risk of repeating myself…Social, social, social 🙂

Siegel: “What if some of these what-ifs yield positive results and newspapers discover a winning road map for the future?  If newspapers can monetize the reach of their combined print and online audiences, the future looks even better.”

Gayle:  Monetizing content is critical and I’m not talking just about increased circulation.  Newspapers need to embrace new cost-per-action advertising models and “social” to enable them to exploit their strength in local and be successful online.  To find out more how this can, and is, being done, contact us at digital@newspaperdirect.com .

Siegel: “With their newsgathering capabilities, dominant print and online franchises, and strong brands, newspapers still have time to reverse their fortunes, re-establish their relevance and survive. But they must evolve rapidly.”

Gayle:  Couldn’t agree more!

Yes, the future is bright for newspapers that evole with the urgency Mr. Siegel encourages.   And we can help!

Gayle