If there is one thing you can be sure of in the modern media it is that change is coming. Our publishing platforms have changed, our audience has changed, our competition has changed and as a result, we have had to change. Over and over and over again.
It’s the key issue that we grapple every day. How to reach and build a younger digital audience, while continuing to serve the needs of a loyal, ageing print readership. Our company recently rebranded itself as Reach PLC to reflect what we do as a business. We reach people, whether it is on our own websites and apps, through social media platforms, news aggregators, podcast platforms or wherever else people find and use our content.
There are so many new places to consume our journalism, but there are also so many more alternatives competing for people’s attention.
The Scottish newspaper market has always been one of the most competitive in the world and we now have an added - and government-funded - competitor in the BBC which is no longer just the state broadcaster but the state digital publisher as well.
It’s not just other news publishers vying for our readers’ attention. Our content has to be more appealing than everything else on your smartphone screen. It has to be more valuable than every post on Facebook, every tweet or photo on Instagram, every push notification demanding your attention and every game inviting you to challenge your friends.
Our readers are no longer passive consumers, prepared to sit back and listen as we tell them we know best.
Nor do they need us to provide the sort of generic clickbait content they can already find on any number of other sites.
In order to reach the modern user, we need exclusive content, which is relevant to our readers’ everyday lives.
So while we generate a huge audience on our national, flagship news website dailyrecord.co.uk, with all the breaking news, sport and politics from across the country, we have launched new digital mastheads to serve communities within Scotland.
Glasgow Live launched in April 2016 and set out to be a pocket companion to the people who live, work and play in Scotland’s biggest city.
We adopted a more conversational tone and a positive approach to the multitude of interesting and exciting things in this thriving, creative and often misunderstood city.
It has been a huge success and with a small team of six dedicated journalists, the website has become an indispensable part of Glaswegian life, especially to millennials, reaching more than 1.5m monthly unique users and 5m page views.
The site has established itself as the go-to destination for news on treacherous weather conditions or problems with traffic and public transport in the city.
We have learned what Glaswegians value and enjoy and have used that information to build smaller communities within our now established audience, with online Facebook groups around our extremely popular content centred around our coverage of the city’s food and drink scene and another growing community interested in the Glasgow property market. The success of the site has led us to launch a sister site called Edinburgh Live and we quickly replicating our winning formula in the nation’s capital.
But these online groups are not just about geography and with Insider.co.uk we have created a bespoke product for the smaller, but hugely valuable and influential Scottish business community.
And while we already serve a huge Scottish audience with our comprehensive football news coverage on dailyrecord.co.uk, our latest launch is the small but perfectly formed footballscotland.co.uk which takes a different tone, reflecting the fun surrounding our national game.
So while we are fiercely protective of big established Daily Record and Sunday Mail brands, by reaching into these communities and serving them with the content they need we are building new audiences and entering new markets as we adapt to this changing media landscape.
Reach PLC Scotland is our Title Sponsor at Digital Day 2019