The leading European newspaper consulting firm SCHICKLER has conducted a research on newspaper strategies. For this study, Schickler examined the strategies of around 100 leading newspaper publishers worldwide. One interesting finding: Although the newspaper strategies might appear to be very different in detail, there is a common pattern in all of them. As a result, the different newspaper strategies can be resumed into seven ways to increase revenues and profits and to master the digital transformation.
A newspaper publisher can achieve operational excellence through cost base restructuring and revenue improvement. A newspaper publisher should benchmark her fundamental operational Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) on a regular basis with the best publishers in the world. A typical result in a benchmarking project is an efficiency increase of 10-25% as publishing processes develop very fast.
A newspaper publisher should follow three steps to increase digital revenues. The first step is to increase digital advertising revenues by fostering the digital daily reach and aligning the advertising products to the target groups. The second step is to capitalize the high reach with e-commerce offers. Eventually, in the third step a newspaper publisher has to implement paid content as digital advertising will not be high enough to cover editorial and product costs.
Many newspaper publishing groups acquire more newspaper titles to scale their business. Although this might be no long term strategy in declining markets, a consolidation strategy can boost profits if it is implemented properly. One success factor is a so called plug & play organization. A back office factory provides the processes and systems while the titles focus on product and sales.
Many newspaper publishers have created or bought successful market place, in most cases classified markets. A complimentary approach is to build thematic verticals by using content from the publisher. Examples for thematic verticals are sites for leisure, health, beauty, cars, houses, food, etc. A newspaper publisher can boost her online and mobile reach by intelligently combining newssites, market places and thematic verticals.
There is absolutely no need to leave the attractive e-business or e-commerce markets to others. Many newspaper take advantage of their reach and their trust loaded brand to expand into e-commerce business models and find their niches.
Most of the newspaper publishers operate huge infrastructure services like printing facilities, call centers or logistic networks. Our research shows that some of the publisher generate up to 40% of their revenues out of these services rendered to third parties. If a publisher is highly competitive in these services, there are multiple ways to increase revenues. Although these revenues might not have the same margin as the publishing business, these extra earnings are highly welcome.
In the digital age, core business is hard to define. The majority of the successful publisher at least try to find new revenue streams by investing into (mostly digital) business models outside publishing. Our research shows two success factors. First: Late stage investments prove to be more promising than early stage. Second: Do not integrate the new business models into the traditional publishing organization.
This is a very brief resumé of the research SCHICKLER has done on newspaper strategies. There are far more results and insights. Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.
Schickler is a leading European consulting firm for newspapers. We have worked for more than 120 newspaper publishers in more than 500 projects. Our competencies cover newspaper strategy, advanced newspaper organizations, benchmarking newspaper operations and digital transformation. Schickler is based in Hamburg (Germany) and has a team of >30 specialized new