The oft maligned newspaper industry has frequently been accused of being (for want of a better term), “yesterday’s news” but, in the UK at least, positive steps appear to have been made this past week to address the evolving environment that newspapers are currently in.
The Newspaper Marketing Agency (UK) has rebranded itself as Newsworks. Their core objective is to “help advertisers and agencies harness the power of national ‘newsbrands’ – in all their forms – to achieve their communication objectives”. It is funded by six national newspaper groups in the UK including Guardian News & Media, Independent Print Limited, Mail Newspapers, Mirror Group Newspapers, News International and Telegraph Media Group. The organisation provides a range of services including research, case studies, creative benchmarking and training.
So what is the reason for the rebrand? As Roy Greenslade highlighted in his Guardian blog this past Monday, the rebrand is “indicative of the changed landscape of the news industry”, i.e. the ways in which people consume and engage with news content are changing before our very eyes. The new reality for publishers is that while consumer appetite for news and entertainment has not dwindled, the platforms through which content is consumed has changed dramatically. The advent of mobile technology via smart phone and tablet has made accessing information on-the-go much easier and is actively contributing to a change in the consumption patterns of news and entertainment content. Although print circulations are in decline, the printed product is still obviously a huge part of the mix for ‘newsbrands’ but it is (and will continue to be) just that, a single part of a multi platform offering.
Rebranding their marketing body as Newsworks is a clear sign that the UK industry has accepted this new reality. Just take a minute to look at the actual name, Newsworks. It is a clear signal that the definition of the newspaper publisher is being redefined. Publishers or newsbrands can no longer be defined solely on the production of a daily printed product. At their core, they are providers of content, whether it covers news, lifestyle, entertainment or sport. Newsbrands still have huge influence within society and have the innate ability to generate debate amongst both the general public and rival media. According to Newsworks, in the UK, although the methods of content consumption and distribution of newsbrands content is becoming more varied, the rate at which people are beginning to access newsbrands on digital platforms is increasing faster than print readership is contracting. This is clear evidence that the core offering from newsbrands is still relevant, important and being actively sought out by consumers.
The future for what we used to term ‘newspapers’ is clear. It is now time to embrace it.
Garret Monahan – Head of Press