News to Newspapers

When it comes to news, online has cornered convenience.

Readership in the US has declined more than 1% a year since 1990. And even as far back as 2004 in the young demographic of 18-34 year olds, there was only a 3% readership.

In the UK, circulation has fallen by 22% since 2007.
This picture painted by the OECD gives papers a bleak looking future.

So how have the papers reacted?

The Times have angled their advertising to show the range they have in their paper.
Culture, science, business, media, sport. The list goes on.

This attempts to highlight the price paid by those preferring online’s convenience.
It’s an insight into the product.
Not a great one but there is an insight in there.

It says “we have more information than you can find online.”

However, in flipping the benefit of the online service on its head, you still haven’t provided an insightful solution.
They try to position online news’ brevity as a flaw in the product.

I think the newspapers need to develop the insight further.
Why should people want all that extra information?
Or even DO people want that extra information?

The second question is answered in a form by the new ‘i’ paper by the Independent.

Acting differently from the Times, they have segmented their audiences.
Aimed at the most internet friendly audience; the young, it is brief and relevant.
Never mind the scatty, almost patronising layout, it’s well targeted.

Now to the why…
We know that more information is better.
But we also know that ‘more’ or ‘bigger’ aren’t insightful enough to turn around an industry slowly getting shredded.

This product insight isn’t enough.

They need to answer why people are going to take the time out of their busy days, when they’re two easy clicks away from everything but Times’ obscure sections!

In my view, its in the time people put aside for themselves.
That 15 minutes where no one can interrupt you.
You’re learning and you’re enjoying it.
You want to be ‘in the know’.
With a glass of Tropicana in the morning.
With a stiff one after work.
With a long cappuccino on a Sunday.
It’s a tradition. For you.
That’s the market.

The Times’ answer to why is to charge online readers for their service .
Effectively remove online as a viable option.
In the campaign, Rupert Everett sells in the convenience of online news.

A convenience the consumer already gets from other providers. For free.

Since introducing the charges, they have lost 90% of their traffic.
They may be increasing direct revenue, but they are certainly losing advertising revenue.

More importantly – they are further losing the consumer.

As a reporter in The Wire said about the movement to online:

“There’s no stopping progress”

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