Delivering the Stationers’ Annual Lecture, Reach’s CEO said that while digital is a “fast-growing pie”, the “biggest national stories in today’s news agenda still originate in print”.
Illustrating his point, Fox said: “When Boris Johnson wants to make an impact – which is most days really – he writes a letter or a column in The Daily Telegraph. The same is true in America with op-eds in the New York Times setting the agenda there.
“The moving front page photograph of a Syrian refugee child, Alan Kurdi, washed up on a beach in Turkey, changed public opinion, at least for a while about the refugee crisis. A change in editor at the Daily Mail changed the tone of one of the country’s most strident voices on Brexit.”
He added: “Today’s newspaper headlines set the agenda for radio and television news and their impact is magnified on social media. And newspaper campaigns can still change the world.”
Referencing the Daily Mirror’s numerous campaigns, Fox said that “every single day the power of print is evident and I’m hugely proud of that”.
From an advertising perspective, Fox believes that advertisers “have realised that the pendulum may have swung too far towards digital advertising and needs to swing back towards traditional media such as print”.
He added: “In addition, public opinion and the legislative process is also finally catching up with some of the negative consequences of the digital world.”
However, Fox did acknowledge that “digital revenue is a fast-growing pie and [Reach] will get an ever larger share of it”.
In the digital space, “the main challenge is that people expect their online news to be available for free”, a trend exacerbated by the BBC’s expansion into publishing, according to Fox.
Despite this, “the big digital newsbrands are, I’m pleased to say, the same big traditional offline newsbrands”, Fox told the audience.
He went on to emphasis the importance of newsbrands successfully transitioning to digital platforms: “In the war against fake news, our most powerful weapon is truth, but we can only deliver it from strong and secure foundations. And I believe the digital future for our industry will provide those foundations.”
Source: Press Gazette