Monday, April 02, 2018

Newspaper consultant finds big differences in weeklies and dailies about online value; starts site, 'State of Newspapers'

Kevin Slimp
Kevin Slimp, a leading consultant to community newspapers, has started a website, State of Newspapers, with news, research and features about the industry, and advice for it. Slimp has been taking informal surveys for years, and his latest one found an interesting divide between publishers of weekly and daily newspapers, showing that the former aren't as keen on the web as the latter.

When asked, "How do you feel about the following statement: 'Our business would do just as well or better without a digital version'," 59 per cent of daily publishers chose the response, "That's ridiculous. We would be in worse shape without a digital/online edition." But 68 percent of weekly publishers (those printing three or fewer times a week) chose one of the other responses: "I believe that is true" (22.8 percent) or "It might be true, but I'm not sure" (45.5 percent).

"After visiting thousands of newspapers during my career, and speaking to thousands more at conferences, there's not much that catches me off guard about our industry these days. But I was a little surprised by the vast differences between the way daily and weekly newspaper publishers view the benefits of their digital efforts," Slimp writes. "The results are even more striking when asked about the benefits of social media. Only 22 per cent of non-daily newspaper publishers report seeing any benefit, financial or otherwise, from their social media efforts. Compare that to 60 per cent of daily newspaper publishers who see some type of benefit from their social media efforts and it's clear there are some real differences between the results of social media at daily and non-daily newspapers."

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