Traditional media won’t die, assures Vanguard online editor
Over the years, there have been fears that the traditional newspaper industry in Nigeria could be forced into early demise, following the astronomic growth of digital media and the negative effects this is having on the revenue base of the newspapers.
But Online Editor of Vanguard newspapers, Adekunle Aliu, have dismissed such concerns as unfounded. He insisted that for as long as the advertisers still have confidence in the traditional newspapers to deliver their marketing communications to the consumers, then the newspapers will continue to survive.
“The newspaper industry will not die. Readership may reduce, but the industry will continue to survive as long as they get adverts,” he said.
Readership have indeed reduced drastically for newspapers and sales too. While the decline in revenue is a global phenomenon, the problem is even more acute in Nigeria where newspapers can hardly muster enough money to support high printing cost, much less pay salaries. A lot of these lost revenues in advert have found their way to the gossip and new digital platforms like lingaikejisblog.com, bellenaija.com, ynaija.com, premiumtimesng.com, saharareporters.com and the list goes on.
But the newspapers are obviously not oblivious to this change in readers’ behaviour. This is why in recent times, the industry has been aggressively working at repositioning itself digitally by strengthening its website in order to boost traffic and stop revenue leakages.
That journey for Vanguard started over six years ago when it began to reinforce its presence on the internet and social media by ensuring that news are reported as they break. “We started with a small team, but we have now grown,” Aliu told MARKETING EDGE.
Now, the investments are beginning to pay-off for Vanguard as it boasts of having the leading newspaper website in Nigeria with over 2million visitors daily according to Aliu. The website has also become a rich source of alternate revenue for the company, helping to make up for the short fall in profit. But the online editor would not say how much revenue comes from the website.
“Unlike lindaikeji and many of the other news websites, we are a socially responsible website, we ensure that any news that goes online is well vetted,” the editor said.
But while Aliu admits that the website has been profitable, he insisted that the profit has not been as great as the hardcopy edition of Vanguard. And unlike the other gossip and news website which declare fantastic revenue and display opulence, the newspaper websites has actually been less profitable because of the huge staff strength of the parent company.
But Vanguard’s leadership in the online may not last for too long as competitors are aggressively on their heels to take the top spot from them. In the last couple of months there have been constant raids on its online department, leading to the loss of two of their best hands to Punch newspaper and Daily Trust.
The loss has been a huge blow on the newspaper. “The loss has affected us because it came as a shock. But I can assure you that we’ll recover from it because our success is a team effort. So we are going to bounce back”, Aliu said.