Five Minutes With… Colm O’ Reilly, CEO of The Business Post
What drew you to the news publishing business?
Enda O’ Coineen’s Kilcullen Kapital acquired The Sunday Business Post, as it was back then, in October 2018. I was a senior executive on Kilcullen’s private equity platform. I originated the deal, oversaw the acquisition process and ended up staying with the Company post acquisition.
What’s the most exciting thing happening in news publishing internationally right now?
The effects of Covid on the industry to date has been interesting. Against a background of #fakenews and lower levels of public trust in journalism, I think the high quality content that Irish news publishers have produced has re-invigorated the public’s appetite for fact checked, high quality news and that is a huge positive for our industry. On the other hand, the breakdown of traditional channels of content distribution and the existing trend of new and emerging actors developing original or own content has really been accelerated. My view is that Irish publishers will need to be flexible and continually adapt their business models to be able to compete in this environment. New opportunity will be created but challenges too, of course.
Current challenges facing news publishers?
On the back of some great work by NewsBrands Ireland, I welcome the establishment of a Minister for Media in the newly formed coalition government. I believe that competition is healthy and good for markets and consumers. However, unbalanced industry structures and a lack of appropriate corrective action or intervention mechanisms, can create real problems and impose unfair trading conditions on the players in the market. I am not an advocate for state-aid or government hand-outs but the ‘playing pitch needs to be level’ and I don’t believe that to be the case right now. Real vision, bravery in leadership and a sense of urgency is badly needed or prevailing market conditions will change the face of Irish publishing forever.
What’s next for your publication/ Any exciting news you’d like to share?
Since acquiring The Business Post we have invested heavily in our technology platform, digital capabilities and events management division. Late last year I was delighted to be able to acquire Food & Wine, Irish Tatler and Auto Ireland magazine titles. Strategically these titles were acquired to compliment The Business Post and add depth and breadth to our great business and politics content. After being delayed by Covid, October and November will finally see us launch new print and digital formats of these much loved titles, to be distributed free with The Business Post. We have great belief in our print product and so we are really excited to strengthen our weekly offering to our readers.
What is your most memorable or favourite news moment/story in the past year?
I find it hard to choose just one. I would say the Maximum Media story showed our commitment to strong business journalism as does our ongoing coverage of the impact on business of Covid. We have taken Covid-19 seriously and have reported on it in an extensive way using data interrogation as the foundation of many of our pieces. Finally, I think our political coverage during the general election was genuinely industry leading and I must recognise our partnership with Red C and the quality of their work on polls in this regard.
Check out The Business Post’s trusted business journalism Here