The digital scramble — Global


In the rush into digitalisation, US media giants hastily abandoned many of their core values, says the veteran journalist and former foreign editor of the ‘Chicago Tribune’. Elsewhere, old-fashioned values are thriving. We meet the players with successful business models.

Dagens Næringsliv, Dominie Press, Spanish-language radio, Tehelka, Thalia Pocket Shop, Title

One thing I’ve always loved about a newspaper – the black ink on newsprint – is the serendipity, the chance of being informed of some delicious turn of events, delighted by some aspect of civilisation, or perhaps an appreciation of an unknown person or group. I love the chance to learn and be surprised when I turn the page.

I understand that I can achieve the same result online, that the internet gives me infinitely more choice than the broadsheet pages of even the thickest newspaper. I’m not a dinosaur. Well, maybe I am, but I believe there is a…

  • Employment: In the past decade,25 per cent of daily newspaper newsroom staff lost their jobs.

  • Advertising: Total advertising revenue at US daily newspapers fell from $49.4bn in 2005 to $27.6bn in 2009.

  • Sales: The San Francisco Chronicle sold on average 527,466 copies in 2001 and 235,350 in 2011.

  • Revenue: More than 90 per cent of the US newspaper industry’s revenue still derives from print but each day the format is attracting fewer consumers and advertisers.

  • Closures: Newspaper closures in the US in 2009: 142.

  • Readership: 1.7 billion people read a daily newspaper – equal to 25 per cent of the world’s adult population. If you include non-dailies, this figure increases to 37 per cent.

  • Growing markets: Over the past five years, the total global paid-for daily newspaper circulation rose 5.7 per cent. It was up 30 per cent in Africa, 13 per cent in Asia, 5 per cent in South America. In the same period figures fell 10.6 per cent in North America, 7.9 per cent in Europe, and 5.6 per cent in Australia and Oceania.

  • Most avid readers: The world’s largest market for newspapers is India with 110 million copies sold daily.

Dominie Press, Singapore

Dominie Press used to produce four-colour work on a one-colour machine. Thirty years on, the family-owned, Singapore-based company has won D&AD Yellow Pencil awards for its unusual printing techniques for clients including Porsche and Werk magazine. Dominie’s founder and CEO Oh Teng Hin says that methods such as in-house smokescreening, or bullet-holed and burnt effect, provide an interesting edge in a traditional market.

The key to success, Oh says, has been establishing a niche among his clients, who hail from Australia and Asia to Europe and the States. “The printing industry in Asia is getting smaller – but there’s still a market for very special books, which means that our not-very-high-tech but creative business keeps expanding.”

  1. Illumination: LED lights embedded in print products.

  2. Security printing: In which a print product can test user identity, for example.

  3. Multimedia: In the far future, perhaps even print-based video.

  4. Catalogues: In absolute numbers, fewer magazines and papers, far more product catalogues. “After the Bible and Koran, the IKEA catalogue is the world’s most widely printed product,” says Jürgen Grimm. This trend is set to continue.


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