Un articolo pubblicato il 17 marzo 2011 dall’Economist spiega perché le testate che si occupano di sport possono essere un buon esempio per gli altri quotidiani.
Pink, and read all over
For old-fashioned newspapers, the bad headlines keep coming. The Pew Research Centre, a think-tank in Washington, DC, reported this week that more Americans now get their news from the internet than from newspapers. But there is one sort of news that readers do still want to read on paper: a blow-by-blow account of a game involving their favourite sports team. Sporting publications’ resilience explains why Innovation, a consultancy, is working on the launch of one new sports newspaper in Europe and the relaunch of another with a heavy emphasis on sport. La Gazzetta dello Sport, a fixture of Italy’s bars and football stands, recently recorded an average daily print readership of 4-3m-a record for any newspaper in the country. Spain’s four biggest sports dailies, World Cup, have been doing far better than its top general newspapers (see chart). Many of their readers are newspaper-allergic young men. Online audiences can be much bigger. Last year Marca’s website had 27m unique visitors a month, a colossal tally for a Spanish outfit. One-third of its total ad revenues come from the website, a remarkably high share. Other sports papers have gone into e-commerce and paid news delivered via mobile phones and tablet computers. One reason for their success has to do with the peculiar nature of sports-media consumption. Three years ago ESPN, a TV sports giant, commissioned a study in which American sports fans were followed around by researchers. They found fans consumed about twice as much media in an average day as other young men. They watched more television, listened more to the radio, checked for news on their mobile phones more often-and spent more time reading newspapers. Often, the growth of one news source comes at the expense of another. In sport that is not always the case. There are a few national sports papers, like La Gazzetta dello Sport and France’s L’Equipe. But most are local, and deeply tribal. Tuttosport, based in Turin, is described by one Italian journalist as “the Pravda of Juventus”, Turin’s top football team. All sell better when the local team wins. Yet even the most partisan papers can be brutal in their treatment of underperforming players and managers. They serve the fans, not the teams. The sports papers are not entirely immune to the broader news business’s problems. The paid circulation of many of them is slipping even as their readership grows. Nicola Speroni of La Gazzetta dello Sport points to competition from fan websites, satellite television and general newspapers, which are devoting more space to sport. But sports newspapers have two advantages. First, they are less fussy about separating news from advertising than most publications. Marca has gone so far as to change the letter “M” in its headlines to resemble the logo of Movistar, a mobilephone firm. Second, they tend to treat their readers better. Gazeta Sporrurilor, a Romanian paper, recently began creating what it calls “wikis”-articles incorporating readers’ comments and suggestions. Sports newspapers hardly exist in English-speaking countries, and seem unlikely to appear. In Britain, tabloid and even broadsheet newspapers monopolise coverage of sport. In America fans are spread between too many different sports, and the population is too mobile, to support local sports newspapers. An effort to launch a national one collapsed in 1991. But other publishers could nonetheless learn from the sports papers, argues Juan Senor of Innovation. The internet has not so much made paper obsolete as broken the model of aggregating news on paper. Consumers are moving away from bundles of domestic, national and international news, opinion, weather reports and TV listings. The papers that survive may be the ones that deliver one kind of news extremely well. The sports newspapers have done that since the starting whistle.