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Publishers mostly positive about industry’s future, first HubCiti confidence survey finds

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The sentiment that newspapers are dying is gaining much traction among publishers themselves, with most saying local and regional newspapers can be sustained for the foreseeable future—and 33% arguing the industry is getting better. 

That’s one finding of the inaugural HubCiti Publishers’ Confidence & Technology Report, which also found that, at this point, publishers aren’t putting their money where there mouth is on digital technology. 

For instance, 63% of respondent publishers said they believe implementing new digital services will help generate additional revenue—but only 43% have plans to implement them in the next six months.

Most publishers said they expect to see a 50% percent increase in revenue from both website and mobile app activity in the next 12 months.

Publisher preferences in digital might also be called traditional digital: A plurality of the publishers, 31%, say any new digital services will focus on websites with 23% saying they would focus on mobile apps. Most publishers said they expect to see a 50% percent increase in revenue from both website and mobile in the next 12 months.

Just 15% of publishers said video would be part of their digital push, reflecting the opinion of 60% of respondents that video will not be an important source of revenue. 

“It is obvious from the survey that publishers know they need to implement advanced digital services,” HubCiti CEO Roy Truitt said. “Within the next six to twelve months every newspaper will need to ramp up mobile-digital if they are to meet market and consumer expectations.” HubCiti is a provider of mobile products, digital solutions and implementation services for local media companies.

Print ads including classifieds were ranked highest as revenue generators by 87% of publisher respondents. Subscriptions ranked second with 74% calling them very important, and websites were rated very important by 64%. 

The HubCiti survey also quizzed consumers on their news and information preferences, finding they much prefer a digital version of print content (41%) to searching for specific content (28%). Nearly two-thirds of responding consumers (60%) said they dislike having content suggested for them. 

“The main benefit that newspaper content provides is its high level of journalistic integrity, credibility and quality,” said Gregory J. Osberg, CEO and founder of Revlyst. “News consumers are tired of clickbait stories and they’re seeking more locally-focused stories that they can act on in their communities—only the papers have the resources and editorial knowledge to provide that level of local content.”