Crystal balls
Credit: Image by stonethestone on Flickr. Some rights reserved

The World Publishing Expo 2013 got underway with a number of key trends news publishers can expect to see going into 2014.

Ken Doctor, author of Newsonomics and a regular writer on Nieman Journalism Lab, did some crystal ball gazing, and delivered his predictions for next year:

The print ad decline looks unabated

The total newspaper revenue lost globally in the last six years stands at 39 per cent, Doctor said, which equates to $51 billion of lost revenues a year.

Long-term private investors are entering the US market

Doctor used the example of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who paid a reported $250 million for the Washington Post, and sees "the future and not the past", Doctor said.

"[Bezos] sees an enduring brand, a massive metro penetration, hundreds of thousands of paying customers, and a rich trove of largely untapped data."

"He’s going to try and please readers," Doctor added.

Paywalls 2.0 debut

The next generation of paywalls will be implemented, Doctor predicts. "From the Times, we’ll soon see a spate of new products, individually priced and targeted at niche audiences, Doctor reports in this article (something has also reported on). At today's conference Doctor said Mark Thompson, chief executive of the New York Times, has described this strategies as "working the engagement curve".

We are at the brink of a mobile majority

Doctor said that news outlets get 33 per cent of their traffic from mobile, up from 25 per cent last year. He pointed out that the BBC had reached a key milestone in July, when mobile traffic exceeded desktop for the first time on two separate weekend days.

New strategies will be tested

Doctor's sixth prediction is that outlets will test out new ideas. He gave the example of newspapers shifting from daily print products to three-day week cycles and of Digital First Media's strategy of “content streamlining”, to improve the content people are getting and to save money by centralising processes.

Digital services, events, sponsorship

News outlets will continue to push forward with "integrated marketing" solutions, Doctor said. Print advertising is down to 46 per cent in the US, he said, so businesses are developing new revenue streams, such as events.

2014 to 2016 will be the era of 'selling more stuff'

"We are going to see many new kinds of products sold," Doctor said. From new paid reader products, events, native advertising, news outlets will increase the amount of "stuff" they sell to readers.

We may get closer to a 'Netflix for news'

The next couple of years may see a "Netflix for news", Doctor said, using Flipboard as an example of a platform where readers can access content from a range of different publishers.

"But who is going to come up with Netflix for news?" he asked.

The news crisis continues

Doctor's final prediction is that the industry will continue to face challenges – and will need to continue to innovate to survive. is at the World Publishing Expo in Berlin. Follow @SarahMarshall3 / @johncthompson / #wpe13 for updates. The raw 'live notes' of today's sessions are at this link.

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