Why print brands need to start selling the medium

In an environment that is plagued by falling print sales and a move towards digital, it’s undoubtedly a tough time to be a publisher. News UK’s sales director Karin Seymour explains why print brands need to start shouting about the medium to survive.

Print publications

The total number of national newspapers sold in the UK fell from an average of 7.6 million a day to just over seven million between March 2014 and March 2015; a decline of 7.6% [ABC]. During that same period, every national newspaper saw its circulation fall.

However some publishers are still keen to reiterate the importance of print. The Sunday Times recently saw its September fashion issue of Style magazine, which is part of the paper’s weekend supplements, achieve over £1.12m in ad revenue – its biggest issue to date.

The magazine saw the total number of advertisers increase by 9% compared to last year, and the total number of ad pages rise by 4%.

While News UK’s Karin Seymour admits that it is becoming tougher for print brands to survive, she believes that one thing remains key to attracting advertisers: quality content.

“Publishers need to provide content that people relate to and engage with. It should be pure escapism,” she told Marketing Week.

Seymour believes that brands need to reiterate to advertisers that print can still be lucrative. Figures from the National Readership Survey show that print reaches 68% (35 million people) of UK adults each month.

“We absolutely need to start selling the medium by having a proper conversation about its value,” she adds.

Recently, News UK has been attempting to do this by commissioning research to help advertisers understand why newspapers are unique to other media in terms of their authority, audience and impact.

An example of this is ‘Project Footprint’, a research study News UK undertook this year to explore the correlation between what people read and their subsequent online behaviour, conversations and purchases.

It also commissioned a neuroscience study, which showed that people engage with digital newspapers in the same way as print.

“The study revealed that content, including adverts, on both print and digital platforms deliver the same levels of engagement and recall, showing that it’s not necessarily the medium of paper that makes the difference, it’s the content and the newsbrand that impacts on reader’s reaction to them,” Seymour explains.

“Studies such as these are helping to build up a clear argument for newspaper’s unique role in the media mix,” she says.

Despite the rise of online media, Seymour believes people will still want to consume print if it provides quality content.

She concludes: “The printed product gets quite bad press but if you get the environment and content right, there’s a hugely important place in readers’ hearts and advertisers’ schedules.”

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