Good news for local newspaper advertisers and readers. National newspapers are losing sales due to Internet competition and the near recession. In the U.S. the credit crunch has led to a 14% fall in advertising sales, with recruitment and property adverts plunging 35%.
Local newspapers have a bright future says Boston Media Group conglomerate MD John Rose. “They generate original content of genuine interest to local readers. They have also successfully migrated to the web.“ He adds: “If you’re the local pizza parlour or movie theatre where else are you going to advertise?”
Mike McLaughlin, media watch guru says local newspaper competition for readers and advertisers remains intense; a healthy sign of a buoyant market.
Local newspapers wanting an edge over rivals may have to increase sales by courting controversy; and engaging columnists who build readership identity and loyalty. He says. “It is the ROAR ‘Reach out and read’ principle. This approach has been successful in national newspapers“.
Newspaper sales are fuelled by readers who eagerly await features, columns, entertainment and sports sections. Readers prefer newspapers that mirror their own world.“
Insiders say the risk local newspapers run is to be too parochially boring; subject repetitive or predictable. Controversial subjects or engaging columnists may be the last battlefield to win readership.