Michael Miller, the big cheese for APN News and Media (and soon to be News’ executive chairman), claims one of the biggest challenges facing news and media companies comes from inside the businesses themselves.
As print circulations decline, news groups are having to come up with innovative ways to retain and win more readers and in an interview with B&T, APN CEO Miller said: “I think the threats for newspapers and news media companies are probably more internal than external. It’s pace of change. It’s the understanding that consumers are more youthful, and I’m talking about the under-35 consumer who has different news, current affairs and information needs to what has been historically the case.
He claims current affairs are being redefined due to social media and how news media companies include that as part of their offering, adapting to consumer needs more broadly.
His views echo those of APN Australian Regional Media editorial director Bryce Johns who yesterday told B&T how for the first time in the company’s history it is searching for a new editor for the Warwick Daily News with a strong digital background instead of print.
Miller also claims there is a battle within agencies where they sometimes “adopt the latest trend” rather than meeting the advertisers’ needs when it comes to buying print ads.
“The challenge is also convincing advertisers of the relevance and the effectiveness of the medium still,” he added. “I’m encouraged by the Sir Martin Sorrells and other industry leaders that have spoken up consistently that maybe some advertisers and agencies don’t fully appreciate the printed medium as part of a media mix.
“There’s not one way of serving any campaign. Like any campaign, there’s awareness, there’s education, there’s emotion attached to it. I think the best people in the business do get it, because they immerse themselves professionally in all media, they don’t just use media that they like.
“There is a bit of a battle going on whereby those in marketing and media do like to adopt the latest trend, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best in terms of advertisers’ needs.”
He added the industry has been and will continue to be challenged to convince agencies, and some but advertisers, that printed medium has a unique role in any marketing.”
Talking about where newspapers shine compared to digital, he added: “A lot of the digital experience is about searching and resolving, whereby for print it’s about exploring and discovering. People read newspapers to be surprised and delighted. The different experience, though, because of advertisers, is that digitally it’s about raw eyeballs and awareness, where in terms of that explore and discover for advertisers in print it’s about engagement and action.”