Newspapers need to embrace online; fast.

Do we still read most of the property related news on hardcopy newspaper or online? This is a question every GM of Marketing working in property developers must answer. Assuming their answer is newspaper, that’s really good, for the newspaper. As at this year, I still subscribe to TheEdge on a weekly basis. (They had an offer where I get a Samsung Note 8.0 for the same price as the market and I still get 3 years of TheEdge free) I stopped purchasing newspapers on a daily basis over 10 years ago. The news inside the newspapers can be accessed from the online version of the same newspaper. Instead of buying the whole copy for which I will most probably read 30-40 percent at max, I can save time browsing through what I want over more than a few newspapers.

Anyway, perhaps I am the minority since developers continue to think of newspaper as their MUST have and spend loads of money on them. Tiny reminder, even if you would like to advertise in newspaper, just make sure the newly launched property has its own website and the website address is printed in BOLD in their newspaper advertisements. Else, the marketing campaign has ended prematurely because there is little chance for anyone, whether Gen-X, Gen-Y or whoever to just look at that one page of black and white or even coloured and decide to buy immediately. Today, if they are interested, they would reach for their smartphone to know more about the project. Browsing through the actual galleries of photos for the project, the distance and what’s nearby by using Google map and even the many reviews for the particular developer from online forums and other online property news sites. Let’s be serious, who does not do this before they buy a RM500,000 property today?

In an article about newspapers in Business Times recently, it was reported that the global newspaper industry which is worth some US$179 billion (RM784 billion) is facing huge pressure, both from content generation and distribution. According to World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) chief operating officer, Thomas Jacob, “A lot of media companies all over the world are in the midst of a transformation. They are trying to find the right business model and the right way to monetise their content on various digital media platforms, such as social media, apps and online video.”

He said something important, that newspapers have higher credibility compared to the citizen journalism and other noises on the internet. Many online news are really quite questionable. However, I seriously think property advertisements do not need this ‘credibility’ and the developers would definitely have to manage the ‘noises’ online by having their own contents which is easily available to all. For the developers, it’s going to look bad if the only information found online about a certain property is only in forums which somehow can be used to say anything and everything!

His final parting sentence is extremely important. He said, “At the same time, I think journalists and newsroom editors and executives need to understand the change in technology so that they can embrace these changes, too.” This brings us to one fact. Many print media groups are still profitable. It’s really important for them to push towards the online and not simply selling their hardcopy and providing their online one for free. This destroys the value of their online portion and is the main reason why so many online media players have been growing so fast. Think long-term, act sooner and not later. Happy competing in the world where internet is really the only “international media” of today and beyond.

written on 4 Feb 2016

Next suggested article: Why are there so MANY property advertisements in newspaper

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