Yesterday the number 2 publisher of local newspapers in the UK, Johnston Press published a turnaround strategy to take the business through to 2020. The publisher has been struggling with declining circulation (11% over the last 2 years) and despite what it describes as “resilient” revenue from local advertising, there is an inevitable hit to the bottom line through the loss of revenue from newspaper sales.
Unsurprisingly, the company is looking to digital for growth (and has already seen some considerable success) and the deck below explains exactly how they plan on doing it. For those who don’t want to click through all 60 slides, here is a quick summary:
– Get rid of daily papers in favour of weeklies
– Replace dailies with online, smartphone and tablet subscriptions
– Increased use of social media to foster better communities (they’ll be using pluck to do some of the heavy lifting here)
– Fewer staff journalists – move to using more community contributors and freelancers
– Aim for 50% of content to be user generated by 2020 (this seems a bit arbitrary to me)
– Create national hubs for aggregated local content (e.g. football info)
There’s alot more in there and if you’ve got time it’s worth a click-through – the stand out theme though from a PR point of view is that there are journalists at more than 300 papers who are going to get alot busier, they’re going to be leant-on by online editors to create content that works well online (both in terms of engagement and SEO) and, for those PR firms willing to be a bit smart about things, this will represent huge opportunity.