Guest Speaker Paul Cooke’s Speech from the CSNA AGM Dinner

Guest Speaker Paul Cooke’s Speech from the CSNA AGM Dinner

May 31st, 2016

The guest speaker at the CSNA annual dinner held in Clontarf Castle on Tuesday 31st May was Paul Cooke Managing Director of The Sunday Business Post.

In his speech he spoke about his journey from training as Chartered Accountant to becoming part owner of the Sunday Business Post via being one of the founding executives of The Star. The Star was a success because it believed in delivering premium content.
He outlined the reasons for becoming involved in the consortium which rescued the Sunday Business Post as:

  • The paper was an iconic and respected Irish Brand.
  • The paper represented an opportunity to reduce costs and improve revenues.
  • The business represented a paid for digital product and unlike other publications which are either print or digital first we are digital “too”.
  • It was not solely a publishing company but also was the sales agent for TG4 and also ran conferences and events.

In the past 3 years the company had made significant financial progress with losses of €1.8M for the 18 months to June 2013 being turned into an €80,000 profit for the year to June 2015.
This progress had culminated in the paper being crowned Ireland’s Media Brand of The Year” for 2016 in April, the first national newspaper to be achieve this feat.
This performance had been accomplished through:

  • On the editorial side investment in quality content and the journalists who produce such quality content giving readers stories they want to read. He made particular reference to the appointment of Ian Kehoe as editor and the recruitment of Tom Lyons and Ian Guider as senior business journalists.
  • Appointment of Siobhan Lennon as commercial director which had resulted in a significant growth in commercial revenues over the past 3 years.

Commenting on the perception that print media is dead or dying he said that it is far from dead and used the following points to illustrate it:

  • 450,000 papers are purchased each day Ireland with this rising to 650,000 on a Sunday.
  • Unlike other media, newspaper purchasers make a conscious decision to purchase a newspaper by actively walking to a shop, getting off the bus etc. Readers had very close relationship with their publication of choice.
  • Recently The Sunday Business Post had managed to attract two journalists from The Journal.ie illustrating the attractiveness of strong print media brands to even those working in digital media.
  • Independent News & Media had in the last week or so released research which showed that advertising in print media gives advertisers a greater “bang for their buck”.

1: 38% of test drives in the motoring industry come from print advertising.

2: Print advertising is up to 1.5 times more effective than radio for retail industry in delivering return on investment.

3: Every €1 spent in print advertising returns €8.10 for the finance industry.

Before finishing up he highlighted two issues which he had with the trade:

  • All paid for newspapers where possible should be displayed prominently and properly particularly as an industry we do pay a relatively high margin.
  • Stop carrying free sheets in shops as these do not give retailers any margin and also damage the sales of paid for titles.



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