Press Gazette spoke to 18 industry figures before Christmas — including four from national news brands — to explore how the new year will keep pushing publishers’ constant digital evolution
News brand leaders highlighted several important issues to tackle over the coming year, including the importance of both platform and revenue diversification, as well as publishers’ need to ensure they remain relevant to readers across all their interests during an particularly unstable and gloomy news cycle.
For both the Evening Standard’s chief executive Charles Yardley and The Independent’s managing director Christopher Broughton, developing their news brands across an array of platforms is a key strategic pillar that will only continue to grow in importance in 2023.
“The Independent always feels at its most exciting when it’s charting new waters and developing our TV proposition is top of the list”, Broughton explained, emphasising the organisation’s embrace of its flagship digital innovation alongside digital, social media and major new brand collaborations.
The Evening Standard’s diversification has also been central to its growth strategy, including brand collaborations with in-house creative content agency Studio 27. Meanwhile, ES Magazine has seen significant revenue growth and the publisher’s podcasts have added to its digital reach.
However, events have also grown into an “alternative touchpoint for our audience”, Yardley said. Conferences and summits shaping conversations around business and sustainability took place last year and will continue into 2023.
In the same vein, Telegraph Media Group’s chief executive Nick Hugh also highlighted the importance of “a broad offering across all its platforms”.
Alongside its long-term subscriptions target, the publisher will continue to look at how readers engage with its journalism to invest in services relevant to them, building on Telegraph Wine Cellar and its puzzles subscription launched last year.
Away from revenue diversification, Reach’s chief digital publisher David Higgerson focussed on a prolonged news cycle leaving audiences grappling with several crises happening both at home and abroad.
“The world is gloomy and sometimes the gloom can become too much. It’s impossible to avoid the news, but it is easy to stop inviting it into your life so often”, Higgerson explained.
To counteract this, the publisher seeks to be “part of the solution”, being useful in people’s lives and providing readers with content that matters to them both inside hard news and beyond.
“Useful often serves as a gateway to other sorts of journalism too”, he added.
Read Press Gazette’s full story on the news industry’s predictions and opportunities for 2023 here.