A new year filled with new products for our readers

INTERVIEW

Alessandro Colombi, CEO of Corriere del Ticino, talks to us about strategy planned for 2021

 A new year filled with new products for our readers
"We bet on the card to pamper our subscribers"

A new year filled with new products for our readers

"We bet on the card to pamper our subscribers"

A difficult year for the publishing world is about to end. Despite the collapse in advertising revenues due to the pandemic Corriere del Ticino has decided to bet again on paper, expanding - starting from 2021 its range of consumer products. We discussed it with Alessandro Colombi, General Manager of the group.

Corriere del Ticino focuses decisively on paper. A counter-current choice: why?

People over 50 represent an important percentage of our subscribers, people that are familiar with reading paper, therefore we must support that with an appropriate offer. Therefore, we decided to invest in new products despite a difficult year. We will therefore enrich our editorial offer precisely to better serve these subscribers.

What will the new products be?

We have decided to launch, starting from 2021, a new the monthly named ‘Hub’, a magazine that winks at the luxury sector and the new trends in society. Then will come CdT Mag - a magazine with eleven releases per year - each publication dedicated to a particular theme. I think of food and wine, family, work. It will be an in-depth reading, not linked to everyday life. In addition, there will always be Illustration Ticinese, which was acquired in 2019 and which has given very good results even in this difficult year. In addition to this we will also have the novelty of Ticino Vino with four issues a year, a magazine that was previously attached only to the Tessiner Zeitung but which from 2021 will also be included in the Corriere del Ticino.

What are the reasons that led Corriere del Ticino to increase the price of the subscription for the first time in many years?

As general manager, I also have the task of finding the sustainability of the individual income statements of the companies that make up the Group. In Ticino there has never been a real price adjustment in relation to the Swiss context, and our newspaper cannot fail to follow this logic. By benchmarking against other local Swiss newspapers with similar print runs, the average price turned out to be 501 francs per year. Not only were we therefore below average - with 360 francs - but we were even the lowest in terms of cost for subscribers (ref. Solothurn Zeitung at 398 francs). The criticism, at this point, could be that the Ticino average wage is lower than the rest of the country. But the analysis carried out shows that if we had taken the reference average and linked the price to the Ticino average wage, the subscription to the Corriere del Ticino would have reached almost 420 francs. We have decided to stay lower, at 395 francs. In percentage terms 35 francs represent an important increase, but we did not do it '' empty-handed '': we have significantly expanded the range of editorial products and Corriere, under the new direction, will also offer interesting news 2021.

Are there any news for subscriptions tickets for public places?

Yup. Until now, bars and restaurants received highly discounted rates on the second or third copy; from 2021 we have decided that the first copy will be sold at full price, while the second and thus also the third will benefit from a 50% discount. A fitting comparison, I think: pay-per-views in public places cost much more than those for private use and this I think is a logical market measure that even the daily newspaper exposed in public places, albeit in a more moderate way, must follow.

Let's go digital. How is Corriere del Ticino positioned in this field?

We were the first in Ticino to introduce the paywall, in December 2018. The following month, we saw a drop in traffic on our site mainly due not so much to the paywall but to the way it was managed. By refining this aspect, we have recovered, and the levels of pages visited, and unique users are now satisfactory. But that's not enough: we can't think of living solely on online advertising. Therefore we must increasingly focus on digital subscriptions: in fact, starting from February we will introduce other innovations with various subscription combinations. We will also inaugurate the new digital picker with the help of a local supplier, something that makes me extremely happy.

Are there any problems with the distribution of the newspaper?

Yes, unfortunately a difficulty encountered by publishers is the morning delivery. We hope that starting from 2021, with the new media support law, we will be able to benefit from a contribution for self-made distribution. Corriere del Ticino has its own network of deliverers in the Lugano area, which we will obviously keep, but which represents a significant expense item. All publishers who have this homemade network cannot benefit from the subsidy for distribution.

2020 was also a difficult year in terms of advertising revenue. In this sense, what is the objective for 2021?

Abstraction of the current year, which is truly shocking in every sense, the major publishers expect an advertising drop of 15% compared to 2019. Corriere del Ticino is able to offer advertisers diversified packages with paper, television, radio and digital, a complete and attractive offer that has allowed us to withstand the blow better than other national media. However, the impression is that the advertising market is still fragile and very sensitive to the events related to the pandemic: at every positive news, such as the possible vaccine, the sector has a good luck jolt; on the contrary, negative news calls everything into question. The next will therefore be a complicated year, at least until spring.

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