The Art Newspaper case study

This case study describes the business model of The Art Newspaper. The Art Newspaper is an international newspaper updating readers monthly about happenings in the art world. Anna Somers Cocks opened The Art Newspaper for Umberto Allemandi publishing house in 1990. The Art Newspaper has many sisters’ editions like “Il Giornale dell’Arte” in Italy, “Le Journal des Arts” in France, “Ta Nea tis Technis” in Greece and others. The Art Newspaper has a printed version that has a newspaper format as well as an online version.

The Art Newspaper International edition includes two different sections covering various topics on visual arts, as well as changes in the art market, laws and cultural regulations. The International edition of the paper has the following structure: Section 1 covers international cultural news (Subsections: Museums, Exhibitions, Conservation, Comments & Analysis, Features, Books, Media, Calendar and Regulars) across the world and Section 2 covers the international art market (Subsections: Art Market and Fairs & Auctions). Each subsection is covering news from United Kingdom, US & Americas, Continental Europe and the Middle East.

According to Artnet, wealthy Russian editor Inna Bazhenova bought the paper in 2014. Previous owner Umberto Allemandi commented that Inna has inside knowledge as she worked in the paper for 10 years and has a new vision for digital development of the paper.

Organisational Strategy and Aims

The mission of the Art Newspaper is to deliver news from the international art world to its readers. The publication is aiming to provide objective and unbiased material.

One of the main objectives is to separate commercial and non-commercial worlds. In order to achieve this, there are two sections in the newspaper: cultural and economic.

Another important aim is to cover different types of art and many periods from the art world: anything from fine art and decorative art to collectables.

Finally, another objective is to write clearly using ordinary English with minimal academic language. The idea behind it is to make the Art Newspaper accessible to every type of reader with any artistic background.

The market of art magazines and newspapers is rather competitive, especially with the rising popularity of online bloggers and social networks. The main problem that the industry is facing is the decreasing popularity of printed versions and increasing numbers of online readers. Magazines writing about art should adapt to new trends and think of different ways to attract readers.

There are a lot of different publications about art; however, the majority of magazines are covering either specific geographic area or a niche market or a specific historical period. For example, “ArtReview” covers the international contemporary art market; “Art&Antiques” covers mainly Old Masters and antiques; “Sculpture” covers all forms of sculpture in contemporary market. However, those publications are not direct competitors of The Art Newspaper because they are more targeted than The Art Newspaper.

While ArtNews, an international publication that covers different areas as well as periods, can be seen as a direct competitor to The Art Newspaper. ArtNews is the oldest publication in the art market and has a larger circulation than The Art Newspaper. The ArtNews has more than 180,000 compared to more than 100,000 readership of The Art Newspaper publication family. This might be explained by the long history of ArtNews, the publication was established in 1902: ArtNews might have an established loyal reader base. Even though ArtNews is almost 90 years older than The Art Newspaper, they have a more modern approach than The Art Newspaper. For example, ArtNews is present on a wide range of social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google and Pinterest compared to only Facebook and Twitter for the Art Newspaper.

The main strength of the organisation is human capital. Experience in the art world as well as writing about the art world means The Art Newspaper stands out and delivers high quality news.

Another valuable resource is the brand name. The Art Newspaper is a trusted name and it is respected in the world. Newspapers opened in Russia and China under this brand name are successful partly due to the reputation of The Art Newspaper.

Employees exclusive Contacts in the art world and access to private views allows them to gain insider knowledge that makes articles more interesting.

There are a lot of people involved in the process of realising the idea into production to delivery so that different social groups can benefit from it.

Stakeholders are people or institutions that can be positively or negatively impacted by actions taken by the Art Newspaper and its production. There are different groups that can be identified as stakeholders:

  • Employees. All full time and part-time employees are the stakeholders because they are creating the paper and their financial and emotional stability depends on the success of the paper.
  • Readers. Different readers also are interested in the newspaper; students and researchers can use it for educational purposes. Collectors can read the reviews on the art fairs and explore the international calendar for upcoming fairs. Readers from art galleries and museums are also interested in the paper as they can learn about their competitors. The general public can keep up with international art news.
  • Advertisement. Companies placing the advertising on the pages of the newspaper are also stakeholders. The advertisement through the Art Newspaper is a part of their marketing strategy and the reputation of The Art Newspaper will reflect their brand.
  • Organisations mentioned in the newspaper. Museums, galleries, art fairs, auction houses are also interested in the Art Newspaper as their reputation may be affected depending on how they are reviewed in the paper.

International correspondents can be considered key suppliers. Correspondents write articles and then send them to editors for proofreading and printing. Correspondents work all over the world to create the international issue – they work part-time and combine other jobs with writing for The Art Newspaper. Without international correspondents the international scope of the paper would not be possible.

Key buyers are the readers of the Art Newspaper. The range of readers is wide: keen exhibition viewers, museum professionals, collectors, artists, lawyers specialising in cultural property issues, arts administrators, dealers, auctioneers as well as students.

The target group of the Art Newspaper is diverse: some readers are interested in the newspaper to keep up with news because they work in the art world; the second group of readers is interested in the newspaper only for entertainment or personal interest. These two different groups of readers have different needs: people reading for educational and work purposes need more academic information; however people reading for pleasure need less academic and technical language. Hence, the Art Newspaper has to find a balance and satisfy both types of customers and which is why the Art Newspaper uses less technical language.

In order to have clear understanding of The Art Newspaper business model SWOT analysis is done to indicate strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for the business.

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Marketing Strategy

The Art Newspaper does not have a very strong marketing campaign as it relies more on reputation and word of mouth. However, there are ways the paper is being promoted.

One of the ways to advertise the newspaper, The Art Newspaper enters different media partnerships with art fairs, for example, The London Art Fair, (e)merge. The terms of agreement are not known to the general public, however, assuming that it is a general media partnership, it implies that the logo of The Art Newspaper goes onto leaflets of the art fair and the newspaper covers the art fair and participates in conferences.

Another way how The Art Newspaper advertises itself is by putting comments of respected people of the art world on a banner in the paper itself.

The publishing industry is very competitive and the newspapers and magazines have to differentiate to survive. The Art Newspaper stands out from competition in the following ways:

  • Unique format for the art press. The Art Newspaper is not a magazine and does not have glossy pages; it is printed in old-style quality newspaper format. Psychologically, the format resembles high quality trusted publications like the Times, which attracts readers and builds trust.
  • Creating stories, not only reporting them. The Art Newspaper reports news and trends in the art culture and the art market, written by international correspondents. However, editors also create stories and investigate particular stories. For example, one of the journalists has gone undercover to meet tomb-robbers in Italy and found out about the economics of the trade in illicit antiquities. This approach guarantees that The Art Newspaper has exclusive stories that are not covered by any other publication.

Sales and pricing strategies are very similar to any newspaper in publishing. There are three ways in which The Art Newspaper reaches its readers:

  • Through bookshops. The paper can be found on the shelves of bookshops such as Waterstones or the magazine area in Selfridges. The Art Newspaper targets educated people interested in art and the paper is sold in places where they would shop. Hence, The Art Newspaper does not appear in 24/7 “off licence” retails.
  • Through selling individual issues online. The reader can buy current issue as well as past issues individually or as a subscription pack of twelve issues through the App for iPhone or iPad. This is attracting a younger readership, who do not want to store massive papers and magazines at home, but want to stay updated.
  • Subscriptions. The deal of twelve issues is available both online and in printed version. The price for twelve issues is paid instantly and on average price per issue is cheaper than buying each issue individually. This is the typical pricing strategy for newspapers and magazines to encourage readership and develop a loyal customer base.

 

Conclusion

Under a new leadership The Art Newspaper developed an online presence: they launched the App for Apple products (iPhone and iPad) and the website is under reconstruction. However, they have not covered the Android platform yet, which limits the number of readers. The range of social media is limited as well and is not as extensive as their competitors. In order to be more competitive in the market The Art Newspaper should take the opportunity to develop a stronger online presence.

The main risk that The Art Newspaper faces is the decreasing popularity of the printed press. The number of printed press is declining dramatically across different industries. This indicates even more strongly that the company should adapt to a new era of technology and develop online paper.

Another way to develop the company is to increase interaction with readers by either creating an educational programme, for example “How to write about Art” or “How to review the art exhibition” or by introducing “Questions and Answers column”. By engaging more with the readers The Art Newspaper will increase awareness and therefore circulation.

More than this, the paper can introduce the Limited Special Editions based on particular themes, mediums, retrospectives or periods. The Art Newspaper already has general art coverage, but this will attract niche readership.

To sum up The Art Newspaper is already a valuable source of information in the art world, however it has several ways to reach its potential.

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