Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported that the big three newspaper companies Gannet, Tribune and McClatchy have made the leap to offering joint buys across their networks in an effort to reach big ticket advertisers who do not want to negotiate with individual papers.
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This effort may prove to be too little too late in my opinion. More and more readers are going online or elsewhere to read their news and newspapers have been struggling to retain subscription levels of years past.
Newspapers have completely done away with entire sections of their classifieds i.e. the personals sections, as sites like Match.com and eHarmony have proven to be much more sophisticated competitors.
I believe that newspapers need a breakthrough idea to save themselves from extinction. I believe they should focus on generating traffic for their online properties to aid their direct sales force. National accounts should be negotiated on annual contracts to give them Branding exposure and the ability to drill down into local markets. The direct sales force should not concentrate on national accounts, but on large regional advertisers. Newspapers are great tools to reach a regional audiences. Local advertisers should be able to advertise in newspapers based on a rate card with reasonable prices.
I would not say that all hope is lost. Many people enjoy reading their daily newspaper and do not have the time nor the desire to read to read the weekend news online. I believe that the sales efforts combined with a breakthrough idea would help them to compete in todays emerging news economy.
Thursday, January 11, 2007