Online cannibalisation will not endanger print titles - report
LONDON - The cannibalisation of print content to online is complementing rather than endangering the future of the UK press, according to a report compiled by Deloitte.
The survey, which was conducted in association with the UK Association of Online Publishers (AOP), asked 30 UK publishing firms their opinion on the future of digital publishing, with 70% of those polled not perceiving online content as a threat to print.
The report indicated that digital activities would contribute 40% to revenues for newspapers by 2012, with the growth of online ad spending not encroaching on existing print revenues.
The prediction vindicates The Guardian's decision last month to implement a 'news online first' policy for its business and foreign news sections, making the first UK national newspaper to do so.
The Financial Times is also nearing the completion of a major print and web restructuring programme as part of its wider plans to gear up for the digital age.
The Deloitte report found that print is still regarded as "an efficient and valued means of consumption", with the use of blogs and forums regarded as an important component to building communities of readers.
Mark Lee-Amies, media partner at Deloitte, said: "Publishers no longer see the digital world as a threat to traditional print publishing, and believe that it can complement rather than threaten their print products.
"Digital revenue generation is averaging 17% of overall revenues, and most publishers agree that the growth of online advertising spending has boosted these overall."
Elsewhere, the report found that across the industry, digital director roles are becoming increasingly powerful, and no longer viewed as beneath editor or marketing director for print editions.
Publishers were also asked to name the three most influential businesses in digital publishing, with the BBC (23%), the Guardian (12%) and Amazon (10%) cited as playing a key role in shaping the industry.
The key attributes of successful digital business strategy were listed as content (19%), understanding consumer needs (16%) and infrastructure and flexibility (14%).
Alexandra White, director of AOP, said: "This research from Deloitte will be well received by AOP members and demonstrates the scale of change, both in terms of product offering but also in terms of business culture.
"These qualitative interviews, many of which were conducted with AOP members, serve to complement our own research into changing media habits and audience attitudes."
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