Embrace the perfect storm: How publishers can reduce print costs

By Peter Søborg | Mar 03 2023 | Business | Insights | Media | Blogs

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In the current decade, Europe is experiencing a chain of major incidents: the aftereffects of COVID-19, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the energy crisis to name a few. Events that are pushing the world of publishing towards increasing production costs and subscribers developing an urge to cut down expenses in their daily activities. Add decreasing consumer confidence and increasing inflation, then you have substantial factors of a “perfect storm”, where business ships must steer prompt and consistent toward saving shores.


Rising costs for paper, print, and distribution in 2023

As costs for paper, print, and distribution have increased dramatically within the last couple of years and expect to rise – worst case scenario – partly up to 80% this year, there is no comforting end in sight.

The media consumer will certainly not lose any interest in news or information but probably carefully consider their options and make possible price calculations. Studies show that print generally is the most expensive media in the budget of a common family and consequently will be canceled first in case of inevitable budget adjustments and regardless of the subscriber’s age.

So here you find a perfect symbiosis of a business looking for saving unexpected astronomical costs and consumers adjusting their media consumption to a lower budget. How can the publishing industry ride out this storm? The answer leads toward a digital publishing solution.


The digital shore with zero print costs lies ahead

Despite the current challenges and swift changes in the world of media forcing the publishing industry to make substantial decisions, you should never lose sight of the digital shore where paper, print, and distribution do not affect costs.

An unexpected new event or possible political decision connected to e.g. climate changes that lead to reduced paper production to reduce CO2 emissions, water, and energy consumption will lead to increased prices on paper. In addition, sustainability and reasonable use of resources will continue to be an ongoing subject of focus and evaluation for future generations.

As a result, the way forward for the publishing industry is digital.


Two ways to set new sails

Based on our experience and cooperation with the publishing industry throughout Europe we would recommend you obey the signs of the times and consider the imminent all-digital future by implementing one of these business solutions:

  • Reduce publishing days: Make one or more publication days digital-only. The Norwegian newspaper Bergens Tidende does this with their newspaper published only digitally every Sunday.

  • Convert print to digital: Eliminate paper and move to digital-only. This is the strategy B.T. in Denmark has chosen, going completely paperless since the beginning of 2023 after 106 years of being a print newspaper.


Revenue opportunities

Before you now start picturing a horror scenario of adding extra costs and loss of print ads revenue, just keep calm. The digital newspaper offers new opportunities to grow your revenue:

  • Subscription increase: You can grow your reader subscription base by focusing on your digital newspaper. And by going digital-only, you won’t have to worry about reducing publishing days which can be a strong argument for getting your readers to migrate from print to digital.

  • Digital ads: As a publisher, you can utilize the digital format to increase your advertising revenue. One format that’s proven particularly successful for digital advertising is the Vitec Visiolink Clickable Ads.

At Vitec Visiolink, we can help you on your digital journey. You might even have better suggestions, so please don’t hesitate to contact us here for bringing ideas to life.

Set sails in the perfect storm and find direction on the journey for a brighter future!

Peter Søborg


Peter Søborg