We aim to serve local communities by meeting their needs for local news, information and advertising services through a range of media including print and digital channels.
We believe that our local trusted brands are ever more relevant in the digital age of “information overload”. Our accelerating digital strategy looks to exploit technology to respond to the changing ways in which our readers want to access our content at different times of their day – while recognising the enormous importance that our newspapers still play at the heart of their communities.
Our strategy up to 2020 will create a multi-channel business, trusted by consumers, produced in partnership with communities, and useful and high value in local lives and markets.
Central to our strategy is the relaunch of most of our paid-for newspapers and this project will be completed by June this year. Our print publications are benefiting from redesigns, marketing campaigns and improvements to our editorial processes. The relaunch also involves introducing a 'platform neutral' model in our newsrooms that will deliver content to audiences in the most effective way, whether that is print, online or both. Improvements are also being made to our websites, integrating them fully with social media networks.
Five of our daily newspapers moved to a weekly print/seven day a week online publishing model in 2012, but there are no plans to change the publishing frequency of our remaining daily titles.
Long-term growth will come from extending the scope and value of our digital media. Our digital strategy can be summed up in three words: Social, Local, Mobile.
We now have a total of 31 tablet and Smartphone apps. Combined with the introduction of specific mobile websites (with two-thirds of their users aged under 35) this has helped to open our offerings to a new, younger audience.
Greater use of subscriptions and bundled content across a variety of platforms is powering the ongoing development of synergies between our printed publications and online offerings – recognising the different ways that our users consume content at different times of their day and week.
We are also developing new businesses that bring together content from our titles across the UK & Republic of Ireland. These 'vertical content' businesses will be promoted on a national basis to allow us to tap into the commercial potential of a national audience. The first, WOW247, an online entertainments platform, launched at the end of 2012.
We expect to be earning equal amounts from digital and print products by 2020, operating as a sustainable business performing a unique function in the economy and society, and delivering positive returns for our shareholders.