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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A way for newspapers to improve content and increase circulation?

The BBC Magazine asks, "How can papers afford to give away DVDs?" The answer as attributed to media critic Roy Greenslade: "They can't, at least not if they want to make money." The article goes on to say that DVD giveaways and like promotions are mere ploys for "very short circulation spikes." Where "Editors hope people will buy the paper for the DVD and become loyal readers, leading to long-term stability," most people seem to be buying the paper solely for the giveaway. "It's getting to the stage in a few years where you'll get a free newspaper with your CD or DVD," continued Greenslade. So from this article, it seems that giveaways are not the answer to maintaining or attracting more of a readership.

But the format of the article itself gives insight into a way in which newspapers could attract readers.

It was printed on the BBC's website in a section called "Who, What, Why?" which allows reader feedback and questions, some of which are answered by the BBC for further investigation into a story. Feedback for this particular article, for instance, included a suggestion that the BBC do a piece on the DVD retail market. Some was quite telling of how consumers feel about newspaper promotions; people get annoyed at having to watch the advertising at the beginning of the DVD and real news readers hate finding their paper full of inserts and giveaways. One said straight out, "Perhaps they should stop giving away freebies and start concentrating on content."

That is what it comes down to: is a newspaper's function to publish outstanding content or is it to sell papers through any means necessary? Maybe by including their readers in such a way as the BBC has done, newspapers will improve content by learning what their readers or potential readers really want and will conversely be able to sell more papers through this attention to public desire instead of luring them briefly with giveaways.

Source: BBC

Posted by john burke on October 12, 2005 at 02:22 PM in f. Supplements and give-aways, h. Young readers / New readers, k. Circulation and newspaper launches | Permalink

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