If the UK's fishing industry has had a tough time, not as tough
our our regional newspaper industry in recent years!
Regional newspapers are in deep, troubled waters; this will be
no surprise to media watchers this last decade. Changing customer
behaviours and the huge impact of the internet on 'news brands' -
as we must now call them - has been quite staggering.
But every time we see the latest audited sales figures from the
industry monitoring organisation, ABC, the figures seem all the
more stark and the decline all the more accelerated. Look at the
latest figures for the big daily newspapers in North East
Wow! This massive rate of decline is not slowing and is clearly
Media owners are quick to announce they understand the new
landscape and that print falls are being offset in readership terms
by significant website growth. Hmmm, let's quickly review:
Clearly, for some there is strong website growth; readers are
jumping online from print. Newcastle's ChronicleLive is one of the
UK's most successful online news platforms. But this is not
necessarily true across the board.
Some media owners - like Johnston Press - are losing print sales
and seeing a worrying decline in online visitors. Many of these
smaller regional newspapers have faced job cuts and they along with
their poor websites have received little, if any, investment. This
is a spiral to the bottom.
More worryingly, for the wider industry is that even when there
is significant investment and website growth the digital
advertising return is not halting overall revenue declines.
Right now the future looks bleak for regional news brands, both
online and offline.
The first to come up with a new business model will quickly
control the market ... but in the meantime... back to my soggy fish
and chips ...