Darren Thwaites, editor of Newcastle daily The Chronicle, says the time has come to realise newspapers’ “biggest threat” is also their greatest opportunity after the statistics revealed a year-on-year growth rate of 173pc for the ChronicleLive website.
In an editorial, he said that reading newspapers remained “an enjoyable ritual” for many people and predicted there was still room for print in the digital age.
But Darren, who also serves as Trinity Mirror’s North East editor-in-chief, also sought to argue that the scale of digital audience growth now being seen will lead to corresponding growth in advertising revenues.
He wrote: “After years of uncertainty, an industry built on audience is showing audience growth. Quite simply, we’re providing readers with what they want, when they want it and on the platform of their choosing.
“We’re using real-time analysis to make sure we deliver the right content at the right time. We cover events as they happen, breaking news instantly.
“We publish more stories on subjects that engage the most interest and we plan ahead to much greater effect.
“We’ve brought new people into our business to ensure we have leading-edge knowledge around social media and search engine optimisation.”
He added: “Our online content is free to access so our model is driven by offering advertisers access to audiences. But that’s always been the case, with most revenues in regional media traditionally based on advertising.
“And there’s plenty of cake to get at. Online advertising spend easily eclipses TV and print. Clever digital advertising delivers results.
“Newspapers are brilliant for raising local brand awareness, while online advertising can take you right to point of purchase in a single click.
“It’s no surprise then that we’re seeing growth in digital advertising revenues as our audience and expertise develops. We’re helping readers find content and we’re helping advertisers reach customers.”
Darren conceded that the days of breaking news in print had gone but insisted there was still room for physical newspapers.
“Good newspapers continue to bring the best of everything together in one place. They’ll never deliver live breaking news as well as web and mobile platforms. But they remain an enjoyable ritual for many.
“Those who question why anyone would buy a newspaper when they can read stories for free online might ask the same of Starbucks.Why would anyone pay £2 for a coffee when you could just stick the kettle on?
“It’s a ritual, an enjoyable experience, a relaxing diversion. Just like a newspaper (only more expensive!)”