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Panpa Bulletin : August 2006
august 2006 PANPA bULLETIN | 29 CONTENT The future of newspapers has provided publishers with many column cen- timetres of copy over the last few years. The general debate is if the rise of the internet as a medium is the end for news- papers as we know them or the start of a new golden era for the newspaper mastheads? None of us know the answer to that question beyond the fact that the role of newspapers is changing and will continue to change dramatically. The Internet is now firmly estab- lished as an alternate delivery medium for news and infor- mation. The rapid increase of broadband access will con- tinue to change the way the internet is used. In addition new delivery options such as mobile will continue to change the media landscape. In this new and constantly changing environment we will continue to see brands we have not even heard of yet building brand equity at a rate not seen previously. In addition to this we will see strong media brands also building their presence in other mediums. Most newspa- pers have already developed a strong online presence and the challenge will be to compete effectively against new players in this market place to give the newspaper brands the same strength that they have en- joyed in the world of print. At the same time advertis- ing is moving from a model of interruption to one of en- gagement. This means talking to distinct communities of in- terest in an environment that they connect with. Newspa- pers have recognised this need for more tailored information and increased the number of sections targeting specific au- diences. However the lack of sectional readership continues to hold back the evaluation of these options. The need for sectional read- ership is driven by a desire to understand the relevance of newspapers, and the sections they publish, in the lives of your readers. This is about un- derstanding about how people read newspapers, what they are looking for when they read them and why they read par- ticular sections. Right now we have a blunt instrument that considers all pages as one. This broad approach to measure- ment is not in sync with a more targeted world. Most newspapers mastheads have an enviable position in that they are trusted brands that readers are turning to for in- formed comment and content. These readers associate with their favourite title and rely on them for information. The chal- lenge is to transfer these brand attributes to other platforms. The internet is where the most focus has been to date. The de- grees of success in this market are varied and first to market brands have driven significant wins over newspapers brands who initially approached their online content as a way to pro- tect the print brand rather than as an opportunity for growth. This has now changed with most publishers investing sig- nificantly in their online activity and recognising that it can play an important part in their over- all brand health. The next major digital plat- form will be mobile. As high speed mobile download access becomes more broadly avail- able the mobile phone will be- come more of a key delivery platform for news delivery both in text and video format. These platforms allow pub- lishers the opportunity to do things differently. You can both deliver news in different formats and deliver a more content rich mix of messages. One of the key issues is how you measure this access across multiple sources. If I choose the website of my favourite newspa- per for my online news and my mobile for news updates, should you count me as a reader indi- vidually across each medium or as one? Certainly it says that I have a strong brand association with that masthead. In addition if I choose to get my news from only r one source but always go to the one masthead, it equally points to a strong brand con- nection. Are the online, mobile and digital mediums growing overall brand readership or not? Audi- ence measurement is required to answer this question. Howev- er the more important measure may be of the degree of brand experience. Does each platform deliver the same brand posi- tion and same market position? Overall in the evolving media market where it is less about reach and more about engage- ment, the measure of brand connection may ultimately be more important than audience measurement. brand new thinking there is more than one way to get into the minds of readers writes Simon Davies and it is time for publishers to embrace them In this new and constantly changing environment we will continue to see brands we have not even heard of yet building brand equity at a rate not seen previously. One of the key issues is how you measure this access across multiple sources. If I choose the website of my favourite newspaper for my online news and my mobile for news updates should you count me as a reader individually across each medium or as one? Simon davies is head of publishing at oMd – B&t ad news Media agency of the Year 2005