Guardian Media Group chief executive Carolyn McCall has forcibly stated her opinion that the UK regional press is suffering from a structural decline due to outside market forces and behavioural change. Which is rather obvious, but it’s always good to see the reaction to someone pointing out the elephant in the room…
(Hold the Front Page): She said regional newspapers will need to be “re-engineered completely” with lower costs and fewer staff – and that some titles will “inevitably” need to merge and close.
Ms McCall’s comments, which are certain to provoke lively debate within the industry, came in a speech to Cardiff Business Club, originally reported in yesterday’s Western Mail.
In her speech on Monday night, Ms McCall outlined how online advertising has “decimated” revenues for the UK’s regional press.
She predicted that many well-known regional and local titles, which have often been the cornerstone of their communities for more than a century, will go out of business.
…Ms McCall claimed that the big stock market listed publishers have insisted for years that the changes occurring in local and regional media markets were predominantly cyclical, not structural.
But she said: “This has been wrong for at least ten years and is now universally accepted as such.
“The changes are structural – they are permanent and result from fundamental changes in consumer behaviour, communications and technology. The situation is exacerbated by the current cyclical downturn, but neither the readers nor the revenues are ever coming back, at least not to anything like previous levels…
Full article and rather interesting comments here: http://www.holdthefrontpage.co.uk/news/081105mccall.shtml