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Newspapers are continuing to feel the pinch of the impending recession with redundancies affecting national, regional, paid-for and free tit…

Newspapers are continuing to feel the pinch of the impending recession with redundancies affecting national, regional, paid-for and free titles…

– FT is to make 60 job cuts mainly in its library division.
— Gannett-owned Newsquest is planning £2 million cuts at its Glasgow centre (via PG), which probably means jobs going at The Herald, The Sunday Herald and The Evening Times.
— Associated’s metropolitan freesheet Metro is making an unknown number redundant in its 16 regional offices (via Guardian.co.uk).
— Johnston Press’ Isle of Man Newspapers unit, publisher of Isle of Man Today, is moving its pre-press advertising production across the water to Johnston’s Lancashire Evening Post offices in Preston, with the possible loss of five jobs (via ManxRadio).
— Manchester Evening News Media’s editorial director Richard Catlow has been made redundant after recently closing five regional offices (via How Do).

So bad news all round for publishers. But what’s the solution, and what will work as newspapers seek an online income stream to replace print decline? A report from World Association of Newspapers (WAN) out this month suggests this: games and long tails. Sun Online makes 80 percent of its online revenues from its gambling channel Sun Bet and from Sun Bingo, the report says…

Another glimpse of the future – the dogfight for traffic that is search engine optimisation and marketing. As Johnston Press SEO chief George Hopkin, whose 323 sites get 60 to 90 percent of traffic from Google (NSDQ: GOOG), says in the report, describing a neverending long tail of search traffic:

  1. “No content is too trivial to post.” This is really screwed up thinking, based on the idea that page views = bucks (which ain't necessarily the case – average CPM rates continue to decline in most sectors).

    It's my sincere hope that online advertisers will wake up to the fact that it's the quality of the traffic that counts, not the amount. One hopes that the recession will focus marketing minds; building brand awareness and accurately targeting campaigns are as crucial to successful advertising online as they are for print.

    Incidentally, publishers are always the first to panic during recessions. Cutting editorial staff at the first sign of trouble is usually a false economy and almost always exacerbates their problems. Publishers will very soon realise they still have to deliver a product (assuming they still have one) and will probably resort to employing freelancers, often at greater expense.

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  2. CPMs should come down with the stock prices – and what should count longer term is the quality of the traffic that is served up for the advertisers. With added UGC and added interactivity the readers will also go further in segmenting themselves into their own special interests, which is one way to a higher quality of traffic.
    What would be really interesting would be a research into what the patterns look like depending on the level of interactivity and connectivity with other users that is offered on a newspaper site.

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