LONDON — Digital services are becoming an increasingly more attractive lure to consumers, but newspapers have to be able to provide the content necessary to support a growing number of distribution channels.
Stig Nordqvist, WAN-Ifra's executive director, welcomed attendees at the group's Digital Media '11 conference here by listing the hottest topics facing newspapers, including strengthening online advertising, building iPad revenues, integrating social media as a tool for democracy and disasters, and creating multiplatform strategies.
"Digital services will become a stronger entry point for consumers and content will continue to drive the various channels," he said. "In the next one to four years, mobile will deliver a larger audience than laptops."
Conference keynote speaker Kevin Beatty, CEO of A&N Media and managing director for Associated Newspapers in the United Kingdom, said the evolving digital market offers an opportunity to newspapers who can help advertisers navigate through an increasingly complex landscape.
"We continue to create more opportunities for marketers to spend money with our brands," he said, adding that marketers are "becoming overwhelmed by digital options, agencies are not ready to manage the full scopes of digital campaigns and advertisers lack the ability to create to the digital platforms."
"These stumbling blocks make it more difficult to create brand-building and that is where we see the growth opportunities."
Finally, Ringier CEO Christian Unger sounded a warning for publishers that aren't diversifying away from print.
Citing a university research study that indicated that Swiss papers could be less relevant or even insignificant as a news source by 2025, Unger said Ringer is focusing on three areas of growth: printing (magazines and newspapers), entertainment, and the digital and Internet..
Unger told the audience that the 20th-century concept of a magazine can no longer survive. Toward that end, Ringier developed a new iPad app, available tomorrow, that will serve as a framework for future Ringier digital initiatives.
The app, called The Collection, will focus on the upcoming wedding of Prince William, and is engineered to capitalize on all of the iPad's capabilities, including a strong advertising component.
Unger said Ringier plans to fortify its iPad app offerings and will formulate a firmer strategy based on the results of its first app.
Some 250 participants from 38 countries are attending the conference, which runs through April 13.
News & Tech will have full coverage of the conference in the next issue.