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Stephen Rae, Editor in Chief at Independent at Independent News and Media chats with Tanya Cordrey from The Guardian and Emily Steel from the New York Times (LEFT) about 'A new commercial model for news' at the Web Summit at the RDS

Stephen Rae, Editor in Chief at Independent at Independent News and Media chats with Tanya Cordrey from The Guardian and Emily Steel from the New York Times (LEFT) about 'A new commercial model for news' at the Web Summit at the RDS

Stephen Rae, Editor in Chief at Independent at Independent News and Media chats with Tanya Cordrey from The Guardian and Emily Steel from the New York Times (LEFT) about 'A new commercial model for news' at the Web Summit at the RDS

NEWSPAPERS have undergone more disruption in the last century than any other industry but the need for quality content is more important than ever, the opening day of the Web Summit heard.

As part of a discussion on future commercial models, chaired by Independent News and Media (INM) editor-in-chief Stephen Rae, industry experts said there was no single strategy for embracing new technology but that a whole range of business models would emerge.

Tanya Cordrey, who is the chief digital officer with the Guardian in the UK, said the transition of readers from print to online meant there had been a massive increase in news consumption internationally.

"There are more people today reading news online than ever before and every time there is a technological advancement, that gives people more disposable time, they turn to news," she told the crowd at the RDS.

"Sustainable business models will emerge, what is true though is that it's not going to be one model, there's going to be a variety of models."

Mr Rae said the newspaper industry had seen "more disruption than any other in the last 100 years".

Ms Cordrey said it had been proven that the model of putting online content behind a paywall, employed by many newspapers including the New York Times, "just doesn't work for us". She said the Guardian had instead opted for a variety of features including a Guardian membership service to create revenue.

Beautiful

Ms Cordrey added that there was "a core group of people who still want a beautiful print product" but said decline in newspaper sales needed to be "managed very carefully".

"Anybody who thinks print isn't declining needs to wake up but at the same time don't think we can just switch everything off tomorrow," she said.

Emily Steel, from the New York Times, said it was vital newspapers got the balance right between offering content to which people would subscribe and generating advertising.

Irish Independent