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Panpa Bulletin : February 2006
THE TIME has nev- er been more right for a worldwide examination of strategies to win the new genera- tion of readers Those of you who at- tended WAN's World Congress last year heard speaker after speaker evoke the need to attract new readers to newspa- pers while they are young - as young as 8 years old or risk not attracting them at all. Meanwhile, trends ar leading to the reinvention of the newspaper itself and these development are offering exciting pos sibilities for attracting this new generation. Core strategies, such as the move to compact editions, with well-documented popularity among the young, contribute important elements of the story, but those elements are far from that entire story. The INNOVATION Interna- tional Media Consulting Group has collected a wide variety of ap- proaches, 50 of them, from around the world. From a 21st Century newspaper in China to Patrola in Brazil, from Dose in Canada, to Reforma and El Universal in Mexico, INNOVATION studied newspapers in 19 countries and interviewed several dozen experts to gather the best strategies aimed at young readers. Now, it's time for the rest of us to make something happen. We have also sustained an in- tense internal debate amongst our consultants and clients and have come to these radical con- clusions: Newspapers will not succeed in attracting young readers to their pages only with special sections, supplements, cleverly segmented websites or simply multimedia projects. It's a fact that millions of dollars have been spent on these projects over the past few years and very little is working with de- monstrable long-term success. INNOVATION, however, is opti- mistic and confident the battle to attract young readers can be won. But it believes, along with many other experts that the only last- ing successful formula is to pro- vide and present content which appeals to young readers in the mainstream pages of a newspa- per. This means newspapers must hire younger writers and editors, develop new and compelling content, design, photos and info- graphics. They must also make the language and tone in every page more vernacular and more direct. And, again, this must be done inside and throughout the existing pages of a newspaper. Any attempt at launching new and separate supplements, mag- azines or websites has not suc- ceeded and we firmly believe will not succeed. We call them ghetto- products, and we believe that says it all. Once again, we have reached this conclusion after extensive in- terviews worldwide and consul- tations with more than 70 experts who in their own ways have led us to this more radical conclusion. As Leo Bogart wrote in Press- time: "The new generation of readers must be sought, not given up." Very few industries can claim that millions of potential con- sumers of their products are born every day. Take the Coca Cola brand, for instance. Its manage- ment are constantly innovating and looking for local formulas and strategies to attract young -- often very young -- consumers to taste the drink for the first time and become regular consumers. And yet, Coca Cola does not follow a strategy of developing a 'special segmented' Coca Cola product for young consumers. The product is the same for an 8 year-old than it is for an 80-year old -- what's dif- ferent is the marketing and the strategy to get young consumers to taste the drink and develop the consumption habit as young as possible. As for the soft drinks industry, the newspaper industry sees mil- lions of potential consumers be born every year -- the challenge remains how to capture and culti- vate them into regular readers. We believe it can be done. Our future depends on how we trans- form our newspapers in order to make them compelling to the au- diences of tomorrow. But hurry up! Because the time to begin developing this new strategy was...yesterday! This extract was produced for WAN by the innovation international media consulting group Gianluca Bovoli Juan Antonio Giner Juan Senor editors Diary note: Don't miss the March Edition of PANPA Bulletin where we feature the report's best editorial strategies for captivating those readers February 2006 PANPA BULLETIN | 21 CONTENT Capturing young readers Capturing younger readers is probably the most serious issue facing newspapers today. The authors of a young readers' report from the US, say most of the strategies used so far don't work and the time to change is now!