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Newspaper readership in the United States is on a steady decline. Since 1990, the print media has been recording dwindling numbers in terms of advertising, revenues, and number of newspapers printed (Pew Research Center 2012). On the other hand, the online content continues to record massive uptake in the whole country. Does this indicate that printed newspapers may become obsolete?
This paper looks at the characteristics of the target market that could be the reason, highlights the author’s reasons to believe that this product is declining in appeal, makes recommendations, and discusses a turnaround strategy.
Printed newspapers target any adult past the age of 15 years. Majority of the population in United States fall under this category. When a person purchases a newspaper, at least one other person is assumed to have read the paper. Most newspapers subscriptions are for the family and offices.
It is crucial to note that most people do not read printed newspapers now. The target market for the prints has massively embraced online content. Most of the media giants now compete with online powerhouses such as Google for this target market. The youth aged between 13 and 45 have shifted their interest to online content leaving a shallow and rigid market for printed newspapers.
The take up of technology especially at the start of the 21st century has prompted continued decline in anything associated with a printed newspaper. This includes revenue, readership, circulation, and advertising (Pew Research Center 2012).
Another viable market is people who seek to seal deals such as land, auctions, and those who seek business information. Although it is a small market, printed newspapers may also focus on the 65 and above age bracket. These people are still conservative and stuck to the traditional newspaper.
Reasons for the Decline
Generally, the reason why newspapers continue to decline in United States is a shift towards online content. People find it more conducive to engage an online subscription of a newspaper, which is cheap and leads to more information. Newspapers are rigid in that they limit your ability to look for more information while reading.
While reading an online content, a person may open other links that lead to previous stories or bring about facts. Additionally, most people have access to information instantly online. However, there are stories that are more incisive when someone reads them from a newspaper than reading online, for example, investigative reporting.
From a demographic perspective, a majority of the United States population is aged between 13 and 45 (US Department of Commerce 2012). This group has developed or been born in a technology age. People aged above that have reported a frequent usage of a print newspaper.
However, they are an insignificant part of the target market. Sociologists have described this generation as ‘instant’. One major flipside about a newspaper that affects this generation is that it has the culpability to lag behind by at least 8 hours. This only compounds the problem.
Online giants such as Google provide easily available information at any time. Media houses have diversified to other avenues, which present cutthroat competition to print newspapers. Social media is another contributor to the declining era of newspapers. Almost every adult has reported to check his or her social media accounts at least 2 times in a day (Pew Research Center 2012).
Although information on the internet may not be verified, many people use it to spread news, which is reported in newspapers more than 8 hours later. Additionally, majority of media houses of all kind have social media accounts where they report events as they happen through use of live streams and instant updates.
It is important to note that there is no any variance in the tendencies displayed by the target market across ethnic lines (Pew Research Center 2012).
Recommendation to Marketers
Marketers of this product need to be creative in selling its remaining appeals. First, it is imperative to have good credibility. This is because the current customer has many options. A sniff of incredibility may render a newspaper obsolete.
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They should also inform the consumers that it is only in a newspaper that the traditional investigative reports can be reported more incisively. It may also be essential to have two editions in a day. Additionally, Sunday editions sell more in almost every market than any other edition. A marketer should make this the highlight of the week.
Second, the media houses need to stop selling newspapers. Many people believe that it is less costly to have an online subscription. Even in the traditional set up it was rare for an individual to pay for news (Pew Research Center 2012). Hence, media houses in the newspaper print business need to concentrate on other revenue generating options such as advertising and selling media spaces.
They will have a more credible appeal to customers since they will tout the massive and free circulation. However, to do this the newspaper must be popular. Otherwise it may risk been labeled a hoax by people who view free things as such.
Lastly, considering the continuing trend where majority of the populace has shifted to online content, it is imperative that these newspapers have online editions.
These editions should be free and the media house should concentrate on selling advertising spaces. While doing this, it is also crucial to ascertain what percentage of the market requires a printed newspaper and adequately make it available (Pew Research Center 2012).
Best Foreign Country
The United Kingdom is the best country to market a newspaper. With a population of just over 60 million, the country’s 15 years and above population is slightly over 50 million. The country sells over 15 million dailies in a day. Considering that at least two people read one newspaper, this shows good penetration.
Britons love newspapers and have the habit of reading it in the morning traffic and in the evening at home. There are more than 10 national dailies and close to 70 regional dailies (Central Intelligence Agency 2012). This shows how big a market the United Kingdom is for a newspaper.
Britons believe in media and its power can be manifested in entirely different contexts. This is a very interesting market to tout a printed newspaper to a consumer. The internet penetration is quite high with two in every three individuals deemed to use internet on a daily basis.
The country has a fetish for weekend editions. In addition, United Kingdom records 2 times more newspaper sales during the weekend compared to weekdays (Central Intelligence Agency 2012).
Product Segmentation and Positioning In UK
To sell this product effectively in the new country, it is imperative to have appropriate marketing tools. Segmentation clearly demarcates the market into groups to sell a product to the right consumers. In as much as Britons, generally, love newspapers it is imperative to give them the right content.
For example, newspapers that report incisive stories about corruption, government misdeeds, and social issues report better bottom lines than the rest. Additionally, business oriented newspapers are popular in UK as opposed to political affiliated ones. Britons read morning and evening editions at almost equal measure.
To sell effectively, a newspaper needs to have both editions to reduce the time lag associated with newspaper reporting. A newspaper needs to be recognized to be meaningful. Most UK national dailies are sold unlike some regional dailies that are available free (Central Intelligence Agency 2012).
This shows that most UK citizens do not mind purchasing a newspaper. It is also imperative to report credible stories. This is despite the fact that propaganda and investigative corruption stories are popular with UK citizens. Many UK nationals buy more than one newspaper at a time.
This is despite the deep internet penetration that is pegged at around two thirds of the country. Many nationals also subscribe to the online editions and this makes it imperative to have an online edition too. Weekend editions are quite popular in UK.
They sell at least 2 times more newspapers in the country during weekends as compared to other days. At the weekend, many Britons purchase more one newspaper. This is a perfect time to have the most interesting stories, investigative reports, and documentaries. Matching the right occasion with the mood will make ensure the newspaper records high sales (Central Intelligence Agency 2012).
Central Intelligence Agency. (2012). CIA World Fact Book. Web.
Pew Research Center. (2012). State of the News Media 2012. Web.
US Department of Commerce. (2012). United States Census: Information and Communications. Web.