纸媒在新媒体时代的生存法则

【纸媒在新媒体时代的生存法则】Pew研究声称,对于纸质媒体,情况已经更加恶化,平均而言,数字媒体每赚1美元,纸媒就损失16美元。但报纸并没有死去,从成功的四家报纸中总结出的法则:1、传统媒体和数字媒体分离;2、透彻了解自己的市场;3、尝试所有看上去可行的办法,动用所有可能的数字资源;4、对决策权力去中心化;5、重新建立你最擅长部分的编辑逻辑;6、要么生存要么死亡。无论你选择哪条路,一定要全身心投入并坚持下去,渐进主义并非成功的要素。

Newspapers that aren’t dying: Four success stories and four lessons

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In America's embattled newspaper industry, some business innovations are showing clear signs of success, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center. While many of these are occurring on the digital side, some papers are generating new print revenue-through circulation gains, niche products and even sales reorganization.  


The report follows a year-long effort to identify newspaper successes in the search for new business models. This report analyzes four such dailies whose executives explained, in detail, the motivation and strategy behind their experiments and shared internal data about the results with the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. 


Their innovations-ranging from sales force restructuring to rebranding the print product to web consulting for local merchants-are generating significant new income. 


One paper, contrary to a downward industry trend, has enjoyed an increase in overall revenue in both 2011 and 2012. Another has seen digital revenues average nearly 50% annual growth since 2010. A third has developed a fast-growing revenue stream outside of the core business while the fourth has seen the growth of digital revenue largely offset print losses. 


All these organizations embarked on business-side experiments in the past two or three years after suffering major economic losses in the second half of the last decade. These success stories share some common characteristics such as risk-taking leadership, a commitment to remaking the internal culture and a push to improve the editorial product. Yet, they all introduced different innovations, tailored to the particulars of that market.  What worked in a wired California wine community might be a poor choice in a Florida resort destination. Customizing the business model for the community, these newspaper executives say, is a key component of success. 


The four news organizations profiled here are: 


The Naples (Fla.) Daily News (weekday circulation 44,876). After the publisher and his managerial team overhauled the composition of the sales force and its operating philosophy, the paper saw overall revenue growth in 2011 and 2012. In Naples, protecting print revenue proved to be a significant part of the success story. 
The Santa Rosa (Calif.) Press Democrat (circulation 53,292). As part of a revamped business plan, the paper developed the Media Lab, a sophisticated digital agency that provides a full range of online marketing services to merchants. In its first year, the lab accounted for roughly 25% of the paper's digital revenue and is expected to grow revenue by about 60% in 2013. 
The (Salt Lake City) Deseret News (circulation 91,638). Former Harvard Business professor Clark Gilbert engineered a major reorganization of the Deseret media properties, building a digital company, creating a new-and more narrowly focused-editorial identity for the newspaper and unveiling a weekly national print edition. Digital revenue has been growing at over 40% a year since 2010 while daily and Sunday circulation jumped about 33% and 90% respectively from September 2011 to September 2012. 
The Columbia (Tenn.) Daily Herald (circulation 12,744). This small, but aggressive daily in an economically hard-hit Tennessee community rolled out more than a half dozen new revenue ideas in 2012 alone, some in print, but most in digital. The resultant growth in online revenues allowed the paper to keep overall annual revenue losses well below the national average-about 2% in 2012. 
These case studies are the outgrowth of "The Search for a New Business Model" released by Pew Research Center in March 2012. Based on data provided by nearly 40 newspapers and interviews with executives at 13 newspaper companies, that study found that in general, the effort to replace losses in print ad revenue with new digital revenue was taking longer and proving more difficult than executives wanted. In the sample, for every $1 newspapers were gaining in digital ad revenue, they were losing $7 in print advertising. (By the end of 2012, the numbers were considerably grimmer for the sector as a whole-$16 in print losses for every digital dollar gained.) 


But there were a few signs of hope in that study. A half dozen outliers either managed to offset print losses with digital gains or came very close to doing so. Pew Research tracked those outliers and found, as a reminder of the fragility of the business, that in the course of several months, two had suffered significant revenue declines and three others were part of a company undergoing a major organizational restructuring that made it difficult to draw conclusions about their economic health. At that point, Pew Research sought to identify other papers that had valuable revenue success stories to tell. 


One of the four papers included in this report, the Deseret News, had participated in the earlier survey and reported good results. The Santa Rosa Press Democrat also provided data, but was not one of the successful outliers at that time. The other papers were identified after multiple conversations with news executives and then preliminary interviews with the publishers at each paper. (The Naples Daily News came to the attention of the Pew Research Center when the E.W. Scripps Company issued a release trumpeting its revenue increase of about 10% in the first quarter of 2012.)  


These papers are not alone in experimenting with new revenue streams-many dailies are working on business innovation in this difficult economic era out of necessity. But these four were selected for the degree to which their innovations had developed into essential components of their organization and culture, because their innovations showed tangible and positive revenue results and because their stories offered lessons worth sharing-ranging from leadership to market customization. Still, these innovations are works in progress and these papers remain vulnerable to the economic disruption that has wreaked havoc on the industry in the past half dozen years and that industry-wide, continues to worsen. 


To produce these reports, Pew Research visited each of the four newspapers, gathered data and conducted lengthy on-the-record interviews with executives as well as other observers and analysts. Each case study details the nature of the newspaper's market, how the innovations work, the challenges faced, the empirical evidence of success and the lessons learned. Some of the lessons include: 


Manage the digital and legacy businesses separately (Deseret News). Deseret News Publishing Co. CEO Clark Gilbert has a theory of media evolution. The legacy business is the crocodile, the prehistoric creature that will shrink, but can survive. The digital business is the mammal, the new life form designed to dominate the future. And they need to be managed apart. So the company created Deseret Digital Media to capture future growth, shrunk the Deseret News newsroom and reoriented the paper's editorial mission.
Keep developing niche editorial products (Daily Herald). In recent years, the Daily Herald management has rolled out a successful monthly health magazine and a new men's lifestyle magazine and plans to introduce a real estate product early in 2013-keeping many of the costs in-house. It seems an ambitious enterprise for a small operation with modest resources, but publisher Mark Palmer says the health magazine has been "very profitable" and initial results from the new publication are quite positive. 
Decentralize decision-making power (Daily News). Under the sales restructuring plan, ad directors and account executives now have far greater authority to negotiate contracts on their own and the bureaucracy is more streamlined. That may sound logical, but it's not easy, according to one ad director. "It takes an incredible amount of courage and trust from the head of your business," he says. "So if someone is trying to replicate this and they don't have the courage and the trust to pass that along, it's not going to [happen.]" 
Establish the digital agency as an independent business (Santa Rosa). A key decision was to set up the Media Lab digital agency as a separate entity with a separate staff to operate it. While it traded on the Press Democrat's brand as a trusted news source in the community, the idea was to make the lab an incubator for innovation. In that vein, digital director Greg Retsinas says, it was absolutely crucial to the success of the Lab that it "have a start-up feel to it and not be swallowed by the older Press Democrat brand." 
Rebuild your editorial philosophy around what you do best (Deseret News). The News, which is owned by the Mormon Church, made the crucial decision to shift its editorial mission from general interest to coverage of topic areas such as faith and family. It's not likely many newspapers would or could focus around those particular issues, but Gilbert believes diminished newsroom resources should be allocated to unique editorial strengths that offer added value. You "have to be differentiated," he says. "Invest where you can be the best in the world...The failure to choose is a choice to be mediocre." 
Don't give up on print. (Daily News) In Naples, where the print franchise is comparatively healthy, the publisher is bullish, saying "we are going to reinvent print" and envisioning a future where the print product could be customized for the individual consumer. At many dailies, where print revenues continue to plummet, that may seem overly optimistic. But the lesson from Naples is that in communities where conditions are favorable, a substantial bet on print can still pay off. 
While these lessons vary, there are some basic shared characteristics that undergird the decisions taken at these papers. 


One is strong, aggressive leadership or what media analyst Gordon Borrell describes as "clarity of vision." The styles of leadership at these papers range from Deseret CEO Clark Gilbert's academically oriented theories about business disruption to Columbia Daily Herald publisher Mark Palmer's determined pursuit of every dollar lost to the economic downturn. But the leaders at these papers are risk takers who concluded that the biggest risk was not rethinking their business models. 


Another is the ability and perseverance to get the buy-in necessary to change the internal cultures in an industry where that frequently proves difficult. Indeed, 10 of the 13 newspaper executives interviewed for Pew Research's March 2012 report identified internal tensions between the legacy and digital cultures as the biggest challenge to business success. Some of the executives profiled admitted that implementing cultural change was among their most daunting task-with plenty of early resistance, whether it was getting former competitors to work together in Salt Lake City or convincing account executives to embrace more autonomy in Naples.   


A third is a commitment to improving the quality of the editorial product, even with reduced resources. In the case of the Deseret News, the response was not only to shift the focus of coverage from general interest to faith and family, but to dig deeper into those topics with more ambitious, enterprise reporting. At the small Columbia Daily Herald, it meant hiring an investigative reporter from Detroit. Several publishers spoke openly of the need to improve the news product and these organizations view quality as essential to "keeping the franchise" and building revenue. 


The case studies also help illustrate the accelerating pace of change in the newspaper industry in the last few years. When Pew Research asked newspaper executives three years ago about trying to get news consumers to pay for digital content, 58% said their organizations had not begun a pay wall and another 22% said they had not yet considered such an option or had rejected it. Of the four papers included in the case studies, one instituted a paid digital subscription plan in 2012 and the other three are likely to do so in the near future.  


Even so, one common theme that emerges from the publishers featured in this report is that there is still too much innate caution and ambivalence in an industry that must take significant risks to build a sustainable revenue model. 


"We need to be fearless, and we need to operate in that mode," says Naples Daily News publisher Dave Neill. "And we don't." 

Newspapers that aren’t dying: Four success stories and four lessons
The pain that the newspaper industry is going through is well known by now, a generational shift driven by massive declines in print advertising revenue and a continued slide in circulation that is affecting virtually every country around the world. So is anyone managing to survive and even prosper in this challenging environment? According to a new report from the Pew Research Center, the answer is yes — but the methods by which these four newspapers have done so are very different.

The report, which was produced as part of the Pew Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, looked at four newspapers that emerged as potential success stories from an earlier piece of research the center did called “The Search For a New Business Model.” That study noted the grim fact that for every dollar in digital advertising revenue, the average newspaper was losing 7 dollars in print ad revenue — a statistic that has now gotten even worse: the Pew Center now says that an average of 16 dollars in print revenue is lost for every dollar of digital revenue gained.

Different pathways to success

The newspapers that are profiled in the Pew report are all small to medium-sized dailies in four states: Florida, California, Utah and Tennessee. All have managed to boost their revenue over the past year using a combination of strategies — some focused on protecting print and some focused on growing the digital side. If nothing else, the report makes it clear that the path to success can be very different from newspaper to newspaper.

The four papers profiled are:

The Naples Daily News in Florida, which has a weekday circulation of about 45,000 and has seen revenue growth in 2011 and 2012, in part by protecting print revenue.
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat in California, which has a circulation of about 53,000 and developed its own internal digital-media agency that has driven digital revenue growth.
The Deseret News in Utah, which has a circulation of about 90,000 and is run by former Harvard Business professor Clark Gilbert, who significantly re-engineered the company.
The Columbia Daily Herald in Tennessee, which has a circulation of about 12,000 and has prospered as a result of half a dozen new digital-revenue experiments.
As the Pew report notes, the Deseret News is something of a special case in the sense that the company’s CEO, former Harvard Business professor Clark Gilbert, built a career on teaching students and advising companies about disruption before he left to take on the challenge of running Deseret Digital Media — the parent company of the Deseret News — which is the new-media arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Part of Gilbert’s strategy has been to reach out to potential Mormon subscribers outside of the newspaper’s traditional coverage area.

Separation of traditional and digital

The biggest factor in Gilbert’s revamping of the company, according to the Pew Center, was his conviction that separating the digital from the traditional is a crucial element of any digital success story. This is a conclusion also arrived at by his former Harvard colleague Clay Christensen: in a recent study of the media industry’s woes entitled Breaking News, Christensen said separation of traditional and digital is the only way media companies can prosper. As the Pew report puts it:

“Gilbert has a theory of media evolution: The legacy business is the crocodile, the prehistoric creature that will shrink, but can survive. The digital business is the mammal, the new life form designed to dominate the future. And they need to be managed apart.”
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This lesson is also brought home by the experience of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, where the company created a separate marketing agency that helps advertising clients make the transition to digital, a unit that generated about 25 percent of its digital revenue in 2012 and is expected to see about 60-percent growth this year. The company’s digital director said it was important that the agency “have a start-up feel to it and not be swallowed by the older Press Democrat brand.”

In some cases, the lesson that these success stories can teach boils down to “know your market.” In Florida, for example, the Naples Daily News has spent a lot of time protecting its print revenue (in par by re-engineering its sales force) — but this strategy might not work as well for some communities as it does in a city where the median age is over 60, a segment of the market that typically enjoys print more than younger users do. The Orange County Register is making similar big bets on protecting the print franchise under new owner Aaron Kushner.

Four lessons worth considering

From my reading of the Pew report, here are the four lessons that these success stories seem to be trying to teach us:

Separate your businesses: As Gilbert and Christensen both make clear, having the same people run both the traditional and the digital side simultaneously is like having the fox manage the chicken coop. It doesn’t work, and it annoys the chickens (or worse).
Know your market: In some cases, a strategy like the one the Naples Daily News and Orange County Register are taking may work, but only if your market has enough print-heavy subscribers to justify the relative over-investment in that part of your business.
Try almost everything: The tiny Columbia Daily Herald in Tennessee has managed to generate digital revenue growth that exceeds many of its larger competitors primarily because it has launched half a dozen different ventures on the digital side.
Go big or go home: If there’s one over-arching lesson from the Pew study, it is that whatever strategy you decide on, you have to commit to it wholeheartedly or it will almost certainly fail. Incrementalism is not the key to success.
Not all of these lessons are going to be applicable to every situation — and some of the strategies that these newspapers have chosen to pursue may ultimately prove to be unwise. We don’t have a very long track record of success for other media outlets to look at for tips, but what we do have seems to suggest that if you aren’t experimenting with alternative digital revenue sources and allowing your paper to do that in a relatively independent way, you are unlikely to succeed.

Post and thumbnail images courtesy of Shutterstock / Don Skarpo and Pew Center

文章作者: By Mark Jurkowitz and Amy Mitchell of the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism 




文章来源http://www.journalism.org/analys ... rning_ideas_dollars


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