| NAA mediaXchange is the largest annual gathering of industry executives in North America, offering unprecedented networking opportunities that combine an exchange of information and ideas with programming designed to generate results. The conference is designed to provide valuable ideas and insights to help newspaper professionals grow audience and revenue for their print and digital products. Sessions highlight leading-edge thinking about media strategies, successes in product and revenue development, new ideas and innovation inside and outside the industry, and tactics and techniques to employ in print and digital.
Advertiser Panel: Perspectives from customers
By Tom McParland
Four advertisers urged newspapers to market more creatively and transition into charging for online content as the audience for news continues to change.
Panelists at this session Wednesday said newspapers should be more open to moving toward a paid content system, a heavily debate approach that would charge users a fee before accessing content online.
"I have not understood why the industry continues to give away its biggest commodity for free," said Chris Sutton, media director of hhgregg.
As newspaper circulation declines, news organizations and advertisers have struggled to find an effective way of reaching an increasingly fragmented audience. Advertisers, panelists said, are moving away from digital strategies that have proven to be financially shaky.
"I need to be shown it's going to generate dollars out of the cash register, not just views and click-throughs," Sutton said.
"Be creative and then come to us as ad and say we have this unique idea," he said.
Advertising dollars, previously reserved for print audiences, are being shifted to various areas, requiring a broader perspective of advertising, panelists said.
"Don't just look at print," said Stephanie Stanton, vice president of media operations at Vertis Communications. "Look at it more collectively."
But with no clear economic model in sight, panelists pushed for stronger collaboration in news producer-advertiser partnerships.
"It's about a willingness to listen," said Richard Branch, director of media at The Sports Authority.
"A partnership is about both sides winning," he said.
But, noting that many consumers are willing to pay online, panelists said perhaps the best immediate solution is charging online users to view content.
"You will have more users coming to your site who want information for a reason," Sutton said to a round of applause.
Tom McParland is a student at the University of Maryland. He is one of several local university journalism students reporting live from NAA mediaXchange 2012 in Washington, D.C.
Apr 05 2012, 08:50 AM
About Amanda Knowles
Amanda Knowles is Web & Social Media Manager at the Newspaper Association of America. Before coming to NAA, Amanda spent four years working in print journalism, both at the college and professional level. She has worked as a copy editor and news page designer for two daily newspapers in northwestern Pennsylvania, The Erie Times-News and The Meadville Tribune. Most recently, she collaborated on The American Observer, the online magazine edited and produced by graduate journalism students at American University in Washington, D.C. Amanda believes strongly in the secure future of the newspaper, and is excited to be a participant in the movement to integrate traditional print media into the burgeoning digital world.