New PwC Study: “A Sustainable Future for Newspaper Publishers”

A major new research project undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers, in cooperation with the World Association of Newspapers, will be unveiled at the 62nd World Newspaper Congress, to be held in Hyderabad, India, from 22 to 25 March next.

The study, “A Sustainable Future for Newspaper Publishers,” will include an examination of how newspaper publishers react to changing consumer behaviour. It will take into account a range of new technologies which influence the way that consumers interact, communicate and seek information and how these changes are impacting newspapers.

The Congress, the World Editors Forum and Info Services Expo 2009, the global summit meetings of the world’s press, are expected to draw 2,000 newspaper publishers, managing directors, CEOs, chief editors and other senior newspaper executives to Hyderabad in March.

Details of the events, organised by WAN and hosted by the Indian Newspaper Society, are available at www.wanindia2009.com.

The issues to be examined in the PwC project, based on surveys of consumers, publishers and advertisers, enriched by industry and company reports, analyst reviews and PwC expertise, include:

New Revenue Models

Finding new, inventive ways of selling advertisements across platforms and developing new revenue streams are key pursuits, but so is defining where newspapers fit in a multimedia brand or campaign strategy.

“Convergence is now happening, but it is being controlled by the buyers of advertising, not by the media companies,” says PwC. “Selling in this model will likely be very different than in the current model, with the key selling proposition being, as always, the loyal, well-defined audience that the products attract. Hence, the premium that will exist on readership data rather than subscriber data and on accurate web measurement.”

Technology

The study will focus on mobile broadband and location-based services as a winning business model for the future. The presentation will also examine the potential of “e-readers”, and track where database technology and print technology are going.

Ownership Structure

“Private equity has not helped developing newspaper companies into companies ready for the 21st Century: focus on short-term gains only effects in cost reduction programs instead of a sound strategy to tackle the challenges,” says PwC. The session will look at alternative models, as well as potential multimedia partnerships.

People

The project will examine potential labour models for the future – staff with multimedia skills, in tune with younger readers as well as older ones, who are flexible and continuous learners. The presentation will also consider the sales force of the future, its compensation models and the tools it will need.

Sustainability/Environment

As environmental issues become more important to consumers and advertisers alike, the research will track how high gasoline prices, interest in carbon “footprints” and other issues will impact behaviour, both within the industry and among its customers.

Full details of the Congress, Forum and Info Services Expo at www.wanindia2009.com.

The Paris-based WAN, the global organisation for the newspaper industry, defends and promotes press freedom and the professional and business interests of newspapers world-wide. Representing 18,000 newspapers, its membership includes 77 national newspaper associations, newspaper companies and individual newspaper executives in 102 countries, 12 news agencies and 11 regional and world-wide press groups.