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Society of Editors

No proof that online has affected newspaper circulation says Chisholm

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By The Drum Team, Editorial

November 15, 2010 | 3 min read

A summary of media analyst Jim Chisholm's talk at the Society of Editors conference.

Media analyst Jim Chisholm has said that there is no proof that the advent of online has affected newspaper circulation figures.

Speaking at the Society of Editors conference, taking place in Glasgow, Chisholm claimed that no evidence existed to say that the number of people buying newspapers had declined as a result of online news.

“The bigger danger is that, as a business, our customers don’t come to us often enough", Chisholm said of the decline in newspaper buying. He added that statistics have shown that the number of staff had no relation to the number of newspaper pages being created, indicating that the size of a company did not relate to its content production.

Chisholm then went on to concentrate on online news. He did however later say that there was a link between the lower number of journalists, the decline in quality and the decline in sales.

“Murdoch’s paywall will fail," he stated as be begun to highlight the lack of time being spent by people on the websites to make it worthwhile. This was a problem, he suggested, was true of most UK newspaper websites.

“Newspapers doing well on internet on internet also do well in print,” he added, going onto say that the online experience was a completely different one from news consumption from a newspaper, which is the ‘biggest challenge’ for newspapers adopting online as a platform.

“The number one thing that everyone needs to talk about is how to get people to come back and hang around,” Chisholm continued to say, stating that online newspapers were struggling to keep its audience focused for a length of time on their websites, and that the audience had no loyalty to any particular site.

He continued by highlighting the adoption of online by the Scandinavian media, saying that they were operating in ‘a different world’ from UK printed media in overcoming the online obstacle.

“The Scandinavians are massively successful. They have bigger CRM processes and are more able to integrate print and online…you will see on their websites a lot of things about the newspaper and a lot of things about the newspaper on the website.”

Chisholm also said that he believed that iPad apps and similar developments was proving to be a more popular online media for news consumption and that he believed that this would have 'a bigger effect on newspaper reading' with iPad readers staying online apps for 25 minutes.

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