Archive for April, 2009

Newsagents losing sleep, going broke

April 30, 2009

NEWSPAPERS’ best channel to market – the newsagent – is struggling in Britain, and that is starting to damage weekday and weekend sales.

The National Federation of Retail Newsagents has pleaded with the British government for assistance to stem the trend of newsagents closing their doors.

It said that more than 500 newsagents had gone broke in the past 12 months. Some 117 of those were in Northern Ireland.

In the North-East of England, 59 has closed because of trading pressures as Britain suffers from its worst recession in 60 years and is set to have the highest level of debt, as a ratio of GDP, in the western world. 

A total 482 newsagents also closed in 2007, which means that nearly 1,000 newspaper shops have gone out of business in two years.

NYT, union agree on pay cuts

April 30, 2009

UNIONS have yielded to management at the New York Times and agreed that staff should accept 5 percent pay cuts in order to prevent more redundancies.

The New York Times, which currently carries more than US$1.1 billion in debt, said that ongoing losses by many of its newspapers, including the Boston Globe, meant action to reduce wages was the only way to save jobs.

To illustrate the depth of the issue, the Boston Globe is forecast to lose US$85 million this year. Times management is asking the paper to make only US$20 million in cuts. It has threatened to shut the paper if that goal is not achieved.

A Reuters report overnight said members of the Newspaper Guild of New York would need to approve the agreement before it could be implemented.

Those who are not union members have already had their weekly pay packet reduced.

The union had demanded that Times management guarantee there would be no further job losses, but company executives refused.

Times shares are currently trading just under US$5, which represents a fall of 75 percent in the last 12 months and is a long way from its all-time high of US$50.

Journal changes pace to match readers

April 30, 2009

A LEADNG American newspaper has revamped its weekday edition to offer shorter articles, responding to its own research that shows readers are time-pour.

The new-look Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which hit the streets this week, is complemented by its Sunday edition, which now focuses on in-depth articles and features.

“While we believe that a print newspaper will continue to play a role in our readers’ lives, we also know that role will continue to change,” Julia Wallace, editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, said in a statement.

“The way people get information is changing fast, and we will need to continue to adapt. We plan on a continuous discussion between us and our readers.”

The Journal, owned by Cox Newspapers, conducted online and face-to-face surveys with readers before taking on the task of a major redesign.

The market place has certainly been telling its editors that things had to change.

Over the past six months, the Journal has lost nearly 20 percent of its weekday readership.  The Sunday paper is down by 7 points, which is still substantial – indeed, it would be dramatic if it were in the Australian and New Zealand markets.

Embattled Chronicle sheds readers

April 30, 2009

THE struggling San Francisco Chronicle, under orders by owner Hearst Corp to cut costs by 20 per cent or face closure, has reported major circulation losses for the past six months.

Its daily paper has shed 15.6 percent of its sales for a circulation average of 312,188, and the Sunday edition is down 16.5 percent.

Its rival, the San Jose Mercury News, also dipped but by nowhere near that extent. It lost 3.3 points for its daily circulation, and 2.9 percent on Sunday.

Other newspapers in California’s Bay Area – world-famous for its technology and Internet industries – grew their circulation over the same period of October 08 to March 09, according to America’s Audit Bureau of Circulation.

They include Oakland Tribune (+3.6 percent) , San Mateo County Times (+1.4) and Contra Costa Times (+5.2).

SPH pushes marketing-editorial co-operation

April 30, 2009

SINGAPORE Press Holdings has appointed a new customer services manager, Geoff Tan. He will be assisted by one of the company’s editors, Tan Ooi Boon, who has left is role as weekend editor of the New Paper.

The focus of Mr Tan’s the role appears to focus more on the advertisers than the readers.

Mr Tan said: “Now, more and more  advertisers are asking for an all-in-one media solution that delivers  multiple touch-points aimed at their target market.”

Mr Boon, who has 17 experience in journalism, will take care of the day-to-day operations of the department and contribute to SPH’s strategic marketing effort.

He will leverage his journalistic knowledge and experience to improve cooperation between the marketing and editorial divisions, SPH said in a statrment.

Search in discount war for market share

April 29, 2009

AUSTRALIA has become a battleground for search engines Yahoo! and Google, with both companies offering small businesses free packages to get them on the ad-search drip.

Yahoo! said it would invest $24 million in the Australian market in an effort to thwart a $75 offer from Google to small businesses.

Local marketing press speculated yesterday Yahoo! could give $150 packages for free to up to 160,000 business. B&T said this would “trump” the Google offer.

Yahoo! is offering the skills of an in-house team to help new advertisers choose key words, create auctions and even develop a better website.

Willie Pang, who runs Yahoo! search marketing, claimed 40,000 businesses had dabbled in search – a number that was not independently verified at his press conference yesterday to launch the new initiative, called Big Bang.

America’s top-seller gets new boss

April 29, 2009

AMERICA’S top-selling newspaper, USA Today, has appointed David Hunke as its president and publisher.

He is currently chief executive of the Detroit Media Partnership and publisher of the Detroit Free Press, which recently reduced its daily editions to three times a week, and is now actively encouraging its readers seek news from its online site.

Owner of USA Today, Gannett, also announced John Hillkirk as its editor.

Earlier this week, America’s Audit Bureau of Circulation confirmed USA Today as America’s top-selling daily newspaper with more than 2 million copies a day.

Its circulation dipped sharply in the last six months, however. The company said this was due to a price increase last December and a downturn in business travel. USA Today is a fixture outside of hotel rooms across America each morning.

Gannet’s president, chairman and CEO, all one person in Craig Dubow, was re-elected at its shareholders meeting earlier this week.

Gannett is America’s second-largest publisher and is currently facing severe financial pressures due to its level of debt and falls in advertising of its newspapers.

Magazine editor takes newspaper post

April 29, 2009

LOCAL Queensland newspaper, The Tablelander, has appointed a new managing editor.

She is Lauren Dor, former editor of the the glossy magazine of the Cairns Post, Cairnseye.

Ms Dor has taken over from Bruce Rockemer  who has taken on the post of editor at the Innisfail Advocate.

The Tablelander reports that Ms Dor began her career as a cadet journalist at the Port Douglas and Mossman Gazette eight years ago.

She was a sub-editor at the Cairns Post before taking on the role of editor of the Post’s glossy magazine, “Cairnseye” in 2007.

She takes up her role on June 1.

Bloomberg expands bureau coverage

April 29, 2009

FINANCIAL newagency Bloomberg has announced it will open new bureaux across the Middle East.

New offices will open in Doha, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, where demand for finance journalism has been growing signifcantly for the past three years, particularly related to Islamic banking.

Bloomberg, which has 145 bureaux around the world, said it would also open up in Angola, Talinn and Belgrade.

The New York-based company will also add Associated Press content to its terminals, which are mostly used by market traders.

Hollings takes on News sales strategy

April 29, 2009

THE chairman and chief executive of News Limited, John Hartigan, today announced the appointment of Dr Stephen Hollings as the company’s director of sales strategy.

Reporting to News Limited’s director of sales, Tony Kendall, Dr Hollings will be responsible for initiating, developing and directing sales strategies and activities across News Limited’s commercial operations.

Dr Hollings, currently chief executive officer of, starts in his new role on May 1.

On the same day CareerOne’s current chief operating officer, Michael Harvey, will take over as CareerOne’s chief executive.

Mr Hartigan said “As the recent Newspaper Works and CEASA data shows, newspaper advertising remains remarkably buoyant. This is in contrast to the significant decline shown across other mediums including television, radio and outdoor.

“Indeed, we see an opportunity to capitalise on the current climate and strengthen newspapers’ position as the best medium for building brands.

“Stephen’s appointment underlines our commitment to delivering the best service to News Limited’s wide range of customers. His extensive experience across News’ commercial operations means he will be a great leader, mentor and coach to our sales managers.”

Dr Hollings said that while he was sad to be leaving CareerOne, he welcomed the opportunity to return to News Limited.

“Working at CareerOne has been great fun and hugely rewarding. Having come through a period of strong growth, the partnership with Monster means the business has the momentum and capability to deliver real competition to the online jobs market.

“Now is the right juncture for me to hand over to Michael Harvey – who will do an excellent job – and return to Holt Street to work across the wider News Limited business.

“I look forward to working with Tony and his team as they develop the sound business strategies which are critical if we are to unleash the full power of the combined News Limited divisions.”

Dr Hollings, who holds a PhD in History, began his career as a lecturer at Sydney University in 1980. In 1983 he took a research role in group marketing at News Limited, which led to a position as advertising executive on The Australian.

By 1985 he was in charge of all recruitment advertising on the paper.

In 1986 Dr Hollings left News Limited for a major advertising agency, where he became general manager in 1987 and then managing director in 1990.

Dr Hollings rejoined News in early 1997 as group classified advertising director before being appointed strategic development director in 2004, a role in which he overhauled and reinvigorated the classified advertising operations News’ national print and online operations.

He was appointed chief executive of CareerOne in 2006.

Dr Hollings is currently chairman of the Audit Bureau of Circulations and a director of The Heart Research Institute.