The 2020 outlook from NewsBrands Ireland

“Information is power” is a phrase that entered common business parlance some years ago.

But as the volume of data thrown off by digital platforms, apps and devices has grown exponentially, audiences, advertisers and agencies have become so overloaded with so much ‘information’ it now seems that the more we receive, the less we pay attention to and ultimately, the less we know.

This is the attention economy in which Irish news publishers now compete.

But after a decade that has seen the traditional news industry and its fundamental pillars of trust, rigour and transparency undermined by social media, Irish news publishers remain resilient and continue to provide media channels that are consumed by thousands of people every day.

The latest TGI data shows that 2.4 million Irish adults read at least one of our members’ titles in print each week and 1.2 million now do so online through our members’ websites. These brands engage people not just by describing but by explaining and entertaining.

The importance of physical newspapers to the retail trade was also underscored by a recent study conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes. It showed that newspaper purchasers contribute €1.9bn in direct and ancillary sales to Irish retailers from their regular store visits.

Irish news publishers no longer just provide opportunities to advertise through print. They use their trusted audiences and an innate understanding of content in all its forms, to enable new ways for brands to engage. These include everything from audio to video through their content creation studios as well as customised events with access to communities of interest.

As the representative body for all 8 national news publishers, print and online, NewsBrands Ireland will be embarking on a range of initiatives with agencies and advertisers in 2020 to ensure that the medium remains relevant and effective. These include the launch of a combined digital and print package across the full NewsBrands portfolio, the investigation of a reliable, independent measurement study for digital news audiences, and a series of workshops with agency planners on using the medium effectively.

I believe there is a growing appreciation that a strong indigenous news sector is vital for the health of our social, cultural and political well-being as a nation. From the FAI scandal to ‘SwingGate’, there have been many examples in the last year where the perseverance of Irish news journalists has unearthed stories in the public interest that might otherwise have remained hidden. Shaping public policy and debate will continue to be a key focus for our members as we head into a momentous news year that will be dominated by a General Election here, a presidential election in the US and of course, the Brexit negotiations.

Information alone isn’t enough anymore. Interpretation, presentation and reputation are what ultimately matter to a discerning audience. And that’s why Irish news publishers’ face into the new decade with renewed energy and purpose.

I hope advertisers and brands will join us on that journey.

Ann Marie Lenihan, CEO of NewsBrands Ireland