Saturday 26th of March marks the final day of print for the Independent, where will this leave other printed publications?
I can’t imagine that me telling you, ‘online news is now bigger than ever’ is going to create much excitement, it’s something that we are all becoming increasingly aware of as time goes on. As more of us find our news free from online sources, we look at where this inevitable change leaves traditional forms of media.
The first quarter of 2016 has seen some landmark events within modern day media. The very final copy of the Independent is due to be printed this Saturday (26th March), after it was announced that its print production will come to an end after three decades. The newspaper will now solely be online, pulling in 56 million monthly unique visitors.
It isn’t only the broadsheets being affected by these changes. Back in November 2015, FHM and ZOO decided to suspend print, bringing a firm end to the ‘lad’s mag’ era. Their counterpart, Nuts, also came to a close in April last year, as did ‘Loaded’. The latter did however return as an online-only publication under new ownership, vowing to rid of the scantily clad women, and focus more on music and men’s lifestyle.
For the first time, the switch to online has also stemmed into Television. Earlier this month BBC Three, the channel dedicated to re-runs of Family Guy and Don’t Tell the Bride, finally made its move online. The BBC Director General Tony Hall claimed this move would save the corporation £30m; it didn’t go without a fight however as a ‘Save BBC3’ campaign gained 300,000 signatures in an attempt to keep the channel firmly on TV.
Based on these events from the first quarter of 2016, it could be concluded that this year will mark the beginning of the end for ‘traditional’ forms of media, and in the upcoming years we will all begin to believe that our grandchildren will scoff at the thought of us ever purchasing our entertainment in physical form.
It’s no lie that the internet is the main form of accessing news and entertainment. Although many allude to the death of ‘traditional’ media, I’m not convinced that this is the case; the media simply has to adapt.
One form of media adapting well to this shift is radio. RAJAR figures from the end of 2015 show that 90% of the UK population tuned into the radio each week. In terms of digital radio, the ‘shift’ is clear – the figures illustrate that digital listening hours were up 10% on the previous quarter and 29 million adults have access to a DAB receiver.
Not only this, in February Trinity Mirror launched ‘New Day’. This is a print only publication which promised to be ‘politically neutral’, avoiding right-wing politics and allowing readers to get through it in less than 30 minutes.
If there was no profit in the publication of a new tabloid, it wouldn’t happen. New Day claims to ‘fill a gap in the market’ so there is potentially a need for this. Newspapers still make up a massive part of the UK media; The Daily Mail still sells over a million papers a day. Radio has adapted by gaining more presence within DAB radio, traditional stations still remain as they have adapted in an effective way, and radio is still prominent within people’s everyday lives. Publications like FHM and Nuts have died out because there is no need for this dated form of content any longer.
Although the shift to digital is probably inevitable, the traditional forms won’t ‘die out’ they will adapt to this, as the media has always done.
Chloe Shepherd - Digital Media Liaison @ Independent Media News
From ‘Top 5’ to ‘Top 20’, these ‘Top *inserts number here*’ lists are becoming more and more popular within online news outlets. News is so accessible and stories need to be short, snappy and concise. This format is so popular because it's easily consumable content, appealing to both journalists and readers.
Lists can cover a variety of different subjects, for example ‘16 Things We Noticed While Watching Episode 4 of The Apprentice’ recently made its way onto the home page of the Metro.co.uk who boast over 8 million Monthly Unique Visitors because of their unique writing style. To contrast this – Money guru Martin Lewis of MoneySavingNetwork.co.uk recently wrote ‘20 Things You Must Know to Boost Your Credit Score’ for the Telegraph. From serious to light-hearted to humorous – this style of article is suitable for a growing number of topics.
To demonstrate why this format is so successful, we’ve compiled a ‘Top 5 Reasons That Top 5 Lists Work So Well’...
1. Short & snappy According to the Guardian, over half (55%) of UK adults access their news content online. If you’re scrolling through a news article on your smart phone, chances are you don’t want heaps of text to plough through because our attention spans are becoming increasingly shorter. Journalists and PRs have to adapt to this.
2. Good for Social Media Because we’re such a tech savvy bunch news sites will tweet most of their stories, as social networks are predominantly becoming a major news sources. People are more likely to click on a ‘Top 10...’ because they know that it isn’t going to be a big commitment to sit and read the whole article, especially as this can be summarised in 140 characters.
3. Pictures, pictures, pictures This sort of article is typically quite visual. Images are often used to accompany each point. Websites like Metro and BuzzFeed also love to put in gifs, vines and videos – particularly for comedic affect within their articles. This makes them more fun and interactive.
4. They’re versatile No publication would veto this format – from Mail Online, Guardian, Telegraph and The i, to lifestyle websites like Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and GQ. This format enables us to secure valuable online coverage with content we are proud of. They are especially well received by journalists on a strict deadline, as they are easy to adapt and edit.
5. More content needed If we think back to a time of no internet (the horror!) and newspapers were our only source of worldly events, ‘4 Sure Signs You’re Stuck in a Life Rut’ probably wouldn’t have graced the pages of the Guardian. With high demand for news content, a ‘Top 10...’ can be a crafty follow on from a previous news story. For example, it was recently in the press that processed meat is linked to cancer, a couple of days later The Independent uploaded ‘5 Reasons a Vegetarian Diet is Good For You’ – this creates more clicks and online traffic for websites and more coverage for clients. Win win!
An awareness campaign aims to increase the knowledge of an issues that effects consumers, by clearing up any misconceptions whilst also helping people to understand the facts.
To give them timely media relevance, awareness campaigns often run in line with a media platform, for example Celiac Awareness Week or National Picnic Week. Brands and charities can utilise these platforms by communicating with the public to gain coverage for their particular niche.
We often work on campaigns like this in IMN. Sometimes the subjects covered can be extremely emotive, and touch upon sensitive subjects – in particular when working with charities. Case studies are more than often used to support the brands messages, as they can share their experiences and add a personal touch. This really hits home with listeners and readers from our experience, and makes a good talking point.
Awareness campaigns are often some of the most successful. They cover relatable topics and focus on subjects that can affect large numbers of people, from serious topics like heart disease to alternative subjects like online security for families. Although these topics can affect everyone; people don’t always have a vast knowledge of them so that's where you, the brand, comes in!
Recently, we teamed up with Medtronic in line with World Stroke Day. Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the world, with approximately 152,000 occurrences in the UK each year – making it a widely spoken about topic by radio presenters. This particular campaign aimed to raise awareness for a new treatment for Stroke victims, which has recently become available across the UK. We gained amazing radio coverage nationwide, including an hour long phone-in programme on BBC Asian Network. This coverage involved interviews with interventional Neuroradiologist Dr. Patankar, eight year old Saad Ali who had suffered a Stroke at the age of five, along with an emotional phone-in from people who had been affected by strokes within their family. This is a perfect example of how effective awareness campaigns are on the radio.
It isn’t just on the radio that awareness campaigns work well – they also lend themselves perfectly to news websites. Back in May this year, we worked with the charity Young Epilepsy for an online campaign, in line with National Epilepsy Week. Their aim was to focus on the struggles faced by teenagers with Epilepsy. There were two amazing case studies, including a DJ and a London school girl – both of whom suffered from the debilitating disorder. This gained amazing coverage on the Mirror online, the Standard Online and the Huffington Post. The Huffington Post chose a different angle – ‘What Should You Do If Someone Is Having an Epileptic Seizure’, showing how these campaigns can be effectively altered and edited to meet thee needs of the reader.
Standard Online Example Coverage
Mirror Online Example Coverage
Huffington Post Example Coverage
Awareness campaigns are an effective way to increase the public’s level of understanding, but also to convey a message from a brand or charity. Combined with a suitable media platform – it’s the perfect match for everyone!
Get in touch with a member of The Relations Group team on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7158 0000 if you have any upcoming awareness campaigns.