Asked if he thought the publications he oversees would survive the crisis, the senior newspaper man replied: “If you had asked me that two weeks ago, I’d have refused to answer. It looked really bad. Now I think we’ve got a chance.”
What changed? Well, last week the government began a three-month advertising campaign across hundreds of newspapers encouraging people to stay at home.
It is worth many millions to the papers and can clearly make the difference between survival or closing for good.
And others seem poised to follow suit. Procter & Gamble, one of the world’s biggest advertisers, now plans to “double down” on marketing its brands.
Which is a result.
The government presented its ads as a public information campaign. It is also clearly a newspaper bailout for which we should all be thankful.
I think the government took the view that while retailers etc going under is sad, major publications ceasing in the midst of a pandemic would be even worse. A sign that the country just isn’t coping, perhaps.
I like to tease flaks by asking who on earth they are going to sell to once we hacks have all disappeared.
We might both be around for a bit longer than we thought a little while ago.