Tailwind in the forest of leaves

The Swiss press launches a marketing offensive and takes a stand on politics

The Swiss press launches a marketing offensive and takes a stand on politicsBy Bruno Amstutz The Swiss Press Association has been organized according to a new structure for a hundred days. At a media orientation, it presented the Printland Switzerland marketing campaign and commented on current media policy issues.
The print media are to be represented as a unit by the Swiss Press Association, and no longer broken down by media genre. For a good three months now, the association has therefore been organized into seven specialist areas: User Market, Advertising Market, Education, Legal, Ethics, Distribution and Technology. Each area has a chairman and an additional responsible member in the office. The media genres can organize themselves as project groups within the departments.
Managing Director Eva Keller cited the possibility of carrying out campaigns weighted by topic as the biggest advantage. This allows the association to provide more services for the same price.
As far as financing is concerned, the association has set itself the goal of covering its costs exclusively from the operating account in future and dispensing with financing from reserves and foundations. New members are therefore to be recruited. The association is thinking primarily of industry-related companies, which will not, however, have voting rights as associate members.
Marketing offensive for Printland Switzerland
Now that restructuring has been completed, the association is launching a marketing campaign under the Printland Switzerland label. According to the Swiss press, it is intended to demonstrate the superiority of print advertising in Switzerland. Since April 22, full-page advertisements have been appearing in 60 newspapers and magazines in all language regions. They are supplemented by the Printland.ch website, documentation and a training program for sales representatives.
The documentary emphasizes the large proportion of print advertising in the Swiss media mix as well as the high newspaper density and also positions Switzerland as a special case in Europe in terms of its media landscape. Accordingly, the campaign calls on the exponents of multinational companies to invest more in print advertising in Switzerland than in other European countries.
Six top managers from globally active companies such as BMW, Hewlett Packard and Orange provide information about their advertising behavior in the ad subjects and suggest the connection between intensive print advertising and successful brands.
Focal points: Press funding and fee splitting
The association identifies press subsidies and fee splitting as media policy hotspots. The upcoming partial revision of the Postal Ordinance has urgent status. The postal delivery fee of CHF 100 million, which the federal government pays to Swiss Post as compensation for the cheaper transportation of newspapers and magazines, could be reduced by CHF 30 million by January 2003.
The Swiss press wants to defend itself against this withdrawal by the Confederation. It views the planned cuts as sabotaging ongoing revision work within the association. Daniel Kaczynski, legal advisor and member of the association's management, named the disadvantages that the revision would bring: The large newspapers with high circulation could conclude individual contracts with Swiss Post or switch to private distribution systems. The millions saved, on the other hand, would be passed on to the regional and local titles, which would have to react with price increases.
This would sabotage press promotion. Although the regional and local titles could benefit from loyalty bonuses from Swiss Post, which the association welcomes, the sword of the federal debt brake would hang over them.
For the time being, the Swiss press wants to maintain the status quo of distribution and help design a functional new system itself. However, the internal opinion-forming process is not yet complete.
For TV liberalization despite negative effects
In principle, the association's position on the fee splitting under discussion is that fees should go to the SRG, while advertising money should go to private broadcasters. According to President Hans Heinrich Coninx, the association wants to take a positive stance on liberalization. This also includes advocating tobacco and alcohol advertising on private broadcasters, even if this could result in a loss of advertising money from the print media.
The Swiss press hopes that the new RTVA will also allow stations without a license to broadcast their programmes freely. However, licensed private broadcasters should be able to claim 6 percent of the fee money for themselves if they meet quality standards in the sense of a public service. The license would thus be transformed from a broadcasting right into a seal of quality.
These topics will be discussed further at the annual congress of the Swiss press. It will take place this year from September 12 to 14 in St. Moritz.

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