Neil urges papers to become more like magazines

By Alyson Fixter

Britain’s
failing newspapers must become more like magazines if they are to
survive the rise of the internet as a news medium, according to Andrew
Neil.

Neil, former editor of The Sunday Times and current
publisher of The Scotsman, The Spectator and The Business, urged
newspaper editors to focus more on analysis and entertainment to retain
readers.

Speaking at the PPA Magazines 2005 conference this week,
Neil said a 10- year decline in newspaper sales would not be arrested
as more and more people turned to the internet for up-to-theminute news.

He added: “Saturday is the best day of the week for all papers, because that offering is overwhelmingly magazinedriven.

If it wasn’t for Saturday sales, the [circulation] figures would look far worse for newspapers.

“It’s my view that in the age of the internet the printed word is more suited to the rhythm of the weekly.

“The
printed word still has power when it comes to analysis, but papers will
have to become more like magazines to survive, and both newspapers and
magazines will have to embrace online to survive.”

Neil
pinpointed the tabloids as the biggest strugglers, saying that
multichannel TV and weekly magazines such as Zoo, Closer and Hello! had
also poached the areas of “celebrity, sport, sex and scandal” from the
tabloids.

And he urged publishers of magazines and newspapers to
embrace the opportunities offered by the internet, including blogging
and interactivity, but warned that the age of free online content must
come to an end.

“Unless we are willing to run charities rather than businesses, it will have to happen,” he added.

“The
days of the word of god coming from on high are also at an end. We need
to create communities under a trusted brand where information, goods
and services can be traded.”

Supermarket says some lads’ mags offend shoppers

TESCO TO CONCEAL ‘OUTRAGEOUS’ MAGAZINE COVERS

Tesco supermarkets are to hide the covers of “risqué”

lads’ mags
and move them higher up the shelves following customer complaints – but
bosses have denied accusations of censorship.

From Monday, the
retailing giant will change the newsstand position of titles such as
Loaded and Zoo, which often feature semi-nude models on the front, to
avoid young children coming face to face with the covers.

Following
protests from shoppers – including parents, MPs and even child
protection officers, according to the store – the offending magazines
will now also be halfhidden by less controversial titles such as Men’s
Health.

The supermarket’s senior buyer for news and magazines
said this week the move was an attempt to “find a balance” between
pleasing shoppers who wanted to buy the magazines and those who were
offended by them.

Speaking at the PPA Magazines 2005 conference
on Tuesday, David Cooke said: “We’ve had quite a lot of customer
complaints in terms of letters and phone calls in the past few weeks
alone.

“Some are shocked by the front covers of some of the
titles, others are surprised that we stock the titles at all, they see
them very much as outrageous, almost pornographic.

“Traditionally we’ve had them three to four feet off the ground, fully face-on, which is not ideal for small children.”

Tesco
first faced accusations of censorship six months ago, when it was
claimed the store had demanded content changes to some lads’ mags.

Cooke
said of the debate: “We were misinterpreted. It was an attempt by Tesco
to bring to the attention of the publishers what customers think about
their magazines, and it ended in a censorship debate.

“Our
intention is not to introduce censorship, but we are a family
supermarket and while we want to provide the magazines for people who
want to buy them, we have to be mindful of what we put in people’s
faces.”

He also appealed to publishers to work better with Tesco
on getting the right magazines on the right shelves, claiming that
publishers’ attempts to maintain secrecy over launches meant stores
sometimes did not have chance to promote or even stock the titles.

Comments
No comments to display

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 × 2 =

CLOSE
CLOSE