The newsstand industry has become a battleground in a fight between digital publishers and online news platforms.
Key points:Online news publishers say they’re being squeezed by digital publishers to offer more original content for readers, while print publishers say their profits are threatened by online publishers’ increased online competition”Online news and online publishing have become increasingly intertwined in recent years and digital publishers have become more aggressive in trying to get a foothold in the space,” according to a report by digital news publisher Media Lens.
“Digital publishers are using social media and other social media platforms to promote their content and their own businesses, while traditional publishers have been left behind,” it says.
The study also found that digital publishers are increasingly being forced to choose between competing with traditional publishers for their audience and retaining the readers they have.
“The online marketplace is a very different experience from the print one.
You can’t just say you want to be a print publisher, you have to have a good business plan and then make money,” said Peter Fenton, senior lecturer at the University of Western Sydney’s business school.”
And the digital publisher’s business plan has to include what you need to sell to the print publisher.”
Digital publishers say the digital marketplace is increasingly different to the traditional one.
Digital news publisher, Media Lens, said its online readership was declining.
“It’s a business decision.
You have to make money, not just make money in a digital format,” Ms Fenton said.”
You’ve got to have the revenue coming in and make the margins on the back of that.”
The study found the top three publishers of online news had the most readership of any newspaper in Australia, with the Sydney Morning Herald, the Canberra Times and the Canberra Post all in the top 10.
Media Lens publisher, Newsstand Australia, said it had “substantial” growth in online readerships in recent quarters and was expanding its print audience.
“Online readership is rising as more people are turning to digital platforms for news and information,” a spokesperson said.
Online publishers say that digital readership growth is coming at a cost.
“They’re going to pay more for the same content, they’re going the other way with print,” Ms Glynn said.
The spokesperson said digital publishers were struggling to meet readers’ expectations and were in a battle to stay ahead.
“In a digital environment, it’s more likely to be in print,” she said.
MediaLens publisher, Australian Newsprint, said online readers were coming in at the expense of its print readers.
“We’re seeing print’s audience shrinking, with our print readership declining by 12 per cent in 2017,” Ms Hennings said.”[The digital audience] is growing at a pace that’s better than we can sustain.”