World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

Repositioning for the future (video)

World News Publishing Focus

World News Publishing Focus
Your Guide to the Changing Media Landscape

Repositioning for the future (video)

Ken Doctor: What’s your take on “digital first”?

Rolv Erik Ryssdal, CEO, Schibsted, Norway: It’s difficult to give a general answer to that question. Different newspapers are in different positions. Some newspapers are getting that thinking. I think if you went to a young public, you'd have that in mind. I'd be a bit cautious: for any newspaper, 95 percent of revenue is still print.

Eugen Russ, Publisher and CEO, Vorarlberger Medienhaus, Austria: We believe in building up the new business out of the old business. It is clear that only breaking news needs to be on the web in two minutes.  We have to play with the rules of the new business. It’s always been digital first as a strategy for us. Print has to fight against digital. Print has to change, and get leaner, and I think we have to accept that print is in permanent decline. I do not foresee any growth for print in the future. We have to transform our organisation.

Jeongdo Hong, COO/Executive Director, JoongAng Media Network, South Korea: Digital first eventually, but in terms of a digital revenue model, we have to be cautious. I recently visited The Guardian, which has gone digital first. After going digital first they are getting more audience and more vitality. They are getting 55 million unique visitors, More eyeballs means more revenue, so it’s a valid strategy in the short term, but very few newspapers are in this position.

Wilfred David Kiboro, Chairman of the Board, Nation Media Group, Kenya: We've had to cannibilize ourselves. It was unpleasant but I still think it was the right decision to do that. When people ask me what will happen in print newspapers, I'm confident they'll be profitable for the next five years or 10 years and serve society. While we're searching for new revenue models online, we have to still keep up with it.

Doctor: How are you addressing classifieds?

Ryssdal: We're seeing in Scandinavian countries that that is definitely moving, the marketplace is definitely online. But that's a very attractive business to be in. If you look at Internet, it's 15 years old, you've got Google, but the third in terms of page view is actually classifieds. As newspaper companies we have to build on our strengths and our strength is classifieds, we know the customers and the market.

Most of the normal marketplace will shift to online, there’s no doubt about that. In the past, we had the protection of owning a press, but the Internet offers much lower barriers of entry and opens competiton up internationally. There will be a lot of competition. We are running the largest classifieds website in Germany.

Kiboro: The Internet, and new media is having an impact. In our website we have millions of visitors who come to our website, both in Kenya and through the diaspora. This provides us an opportunity. The question has been to find the people we can work with and look at the kind of things they want to advertise, particularly among the diaspora, that is bringing a lot of audience into our site. It isn't great we'd like to get a lot more, but it's going in right direction. The key thing for every media is finding out who the real customers.

Doctor: What about paid-for content vs free?

Ryssdal: This is the big question of the industry. We believe we have to experiment. I get inspired if you look at Murdoch and The Daily and NYTimes and Axel Springer – it's not just one approach, there are different models. You need to analyse the traffic and data in order to find out how big percentage comes from – 20 percent may account for 90 percent of traffic. It's impossible to charge for national news but easier to charge for local news, local sports. We have to look at how we're spending our resources internally, compared with what people click on. Restaurants, sports results – many things you can charge for.

Russ: You cannot finance the traditional model of journalism only by advertising. We have competition from Google and Facebook. We need another leg under our business model, and we need to charge for content. People are used to paying for newspapers. We need to come up with a bundle, and I think tablets are a very good opportunity for this. Everything that is generic, we try to source it, so that our employees can focus on original content. We are trying to compile the best database. We have a paid-relationship with 80 percent of the households in our distribution areas. We are charging very small amounts and trying to grow that.

Hong: In Asia, there aren’t really paywalls. In Korea, most visitors go to those sites where content is free.

Kiboro: We realize that we cannot give away everything for free. Everybody needs quality information. How do you then get a fair-share in terms of revenue share? That’s a huge question. We have to find out exactly what our readers want. We need that in order to engage them. Nobody likes to pay for anything that they can get for free. If you have a unique content, that is useful to your customers.

See video
Wnc repositioning ken_doctor
View more presentations from WAN-IFRA


Brian Veseling's picture

Brian Veseling


2011-10-13 18:31

Author information

The 71st World News Media Congress, the 26th World Editors Forum and the 3rd Women in News Summit took place from 1 - 3 June 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland.

In this blog, WAN-IFRA provides previews, interviews, summaries of the presentations and other useful information about the Congress.

Participants were also very active on Twitter throughout the event under the hashtag #wnmc19.

In 2011 the newspaper world gathered in Vienna, Austria for IFRA Expo 2011, 63rd World Newspaper Congress and 18th World Editors Forum.

This is the event's live blog.

© 2020 WAN-IFRA - World Association of News Publishers

Footer Navigation