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Industry leaders tackle print media challenges

With the print media now believed to be in decline after surviving competition from radio and television for almost a century, industry leaders have been left wondering: How do you revive a dying medium in the digital age?

The answer, according to participants in the annual Print Media Congress held on Wednesday,  lies in recapturing the interest of younger audiences who are influential in shaping the spirit of the times, but whose interest in the newspaper seems to be almost nil.

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Members of the United Print Media Group, the country’s biggest association of newspaper companies, discussed during this week’s congress how the disruption from using Google and Facebook as emerging sources of news has threatened the print medium.

Yet for all that, print “remains … relevant and [still] has a place as long as it focuses on its audience,” said Rudyard Arbolado, chief operating officer of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

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Most newspaper companies now embrace the digital platform, Arbolado said, as he also cited the Inquirer’s continued success in the digital era—around 60 to 80 million views a month and 400,000 monthly active users on Inquirer Mobile.

Social media, he said, has also led to toxicity, driving its users to the confines of small chat groups. Adjusting to this trend, the Inquirer embedded itself on messenger apps like Viber where it has an audience of 450,000.

“We capitalize on our strength. We still believe that we’re doing quality journalism and we believe that content is king,” Arbolado said.

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