Trinity Mirror Defies the Cyber-Barbarians at the Gate

11 January 2007

LONDON: Sylvia (Sly) Bailey, ceo of Britain's largest newspaper publishing group, has hauled up the drawbridge at Trinity Mirror, leaving the cyber-barbarians frustrated at the gate.

Which, although not word-for-word Bailey's message to the UK advertising world, was very definitely the nub of the presentation she delivered Tuesday evening to Cardiff Business Club.

Although the internet is set to overwhelm old media companies, the newspaper industry's Jeanne d'Arc told her audience she is not going to let this fate befall Trinity Mirror's 240 local and regional newspapers, four sports titles and five national newspapers.

"There's no question that the internet represents an enormous challenge to our business models, as we face the twin threats of consumers accessing the web for news and entertainment and advertisers following the eyeballs," Bailey conceded.

"I would argue, however, that the immediate impact of this trend on advertising has been somewhat overstated."

Sly, as Bailey prefers to be known, argued that the current advertising downturn in newspapers is largely cyclical in nature and not a permanent structural change.

"We expect the cycle to move back into more positive territory. And we remain convinced that newspapers, as printed products, will remain a powerful medium for many years to come."

The broadband tsunami had removed old certainties and "there's little doubt that some of the 'old media' companies will eventually be swept away with them".

"However, Trinity Mirror doesn't intend to be one of them. How newspapers, TV companies, radio stations and magazine publishers respond to the digital challenge will determine whether, long term, they stand or fall."

Curiously, however, Bailey omitted to mention Trinity Mirror's three hundred-plus websites. She also refrained from reminding her audience of the old adage: 'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.'

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff