Newspaperworks boss: Front page newspaper pointers ‘give you comfort about your purchase’

The boss of Australia’s newspaper industry body has questioned findings by Canadian broadsheet the Toronto Star trailing content inside the paper on the front page does not increase readership or sales.

In a video hangout on the sidelines of the INMA 2015 World Congress, Mark Hollands CEO of the Newspaper Works said the presentation was interesting but said “I was a bit bemused by this”.

“A lot of purchasing is habit – you know they are going to go to the paper and pick it – so to that extent I understand, however, I think those sky boxes are things that make you want to pick it up and give you a bit of comfort about your purchase.”

“Magazine publishers would be completely uncomfortable without those lines – the more boxes the better,” he quipped.

Asked about the Toronto Star’s decision to take down its paywall and whether similar challenges of stalling digital subscriber growth can be seen in Australia, Hollands was more reluctant to be drawn, commenting only on the Toronto Star: “They were sensible enough to call out the strategy for what it was and end it.

“I think the essence of being able to step back and make that decision is commendable. Regardless of the company if a strategy isn’t working – re-evaluate it.”

Hollands also spoke about a number of presentations that happened during the BrainSnacks INMA session which features seven minute presentations from around the world by various publishers.

He commended the South China Morning Post presentation, which spoke about its shift to being a global media brand. 

“There are so many newspapers printed in Hong Kong – I think its over 13 for about five million people – and I think what we learnt today is that the local market is brutal and they have had had to think about looking at finding new audiences,” said Hollands.

“Clearly for them expertise in China and being that trusted source on this incredible journey China has taken to becoming a superpower is obviously something they see potential in.”

For a timeline of the questions: 

  • 0.30 South China Morning Post’s push to be a global media brand
  • 2.00 Newspapers work to streamline their various media brands 
  • 2.40 Toronto Star’s challenge with paywalls
  • 3.40 Should newspapers use front page pointers
  • 5.30 Newspapers harnessing Youtube audiences  

Nic Christensen in New York mumbrella360 2015 footer


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