About 13 million people reach for a paid-circulation newspaper each week in Poland. Over the last three years, however, the number of the large national dailies has doubled, and the competition for readership and advertisers is fierce.
"The fight for the reader has changed," said Dariusz Kostrzewski, the head of the market research department at Agora, the publisher of Metro, Gazeta Wyborcza and other titles. Unconventional advertising, supplements and patronage in social campaigns are key to Gazeta Wyborcza's attractiveness, Kostrzewski said.
Supplements like films and music have little impact on the increase of sales, said Radosław Dobrzyński, sales and marketing director at Presspublica, the publisher of Rzeczpospolita. "People have plenty of supplements to choose from nowadays," he said.
As its selling point, Rzeczpospolita stresses the quality and breadth of the public debate it spurs - considered a conservative title, it publishes articles from the liberal-leaning New York Times in its weekend issues. Other players boast of the cooperation with leading foreign publications as well. Recently launched daily Polska cooperates with The Times, while Dziennik publishes a Wall Street Journal supplement.
Price is an important factor in attracting and keeping readers, especially in Poland's relatively low-income society. Nevertheless, Rzeczpospolita is keeping its zł.3 price, the highest among the dailies, unchanged. "We believe this paper is worth the price," said Dobrzyński. The price hinders non-subscription sales though, he admitted.
Other factors publishers consider key include maintaining a good reputation and forging bonds with the reader.
Publishers stress that the year 2007 was good for the industry. Growing competition, however, may push at least one player out of the market, said Jakub Bierzyński, CEO of Omnicom Media Group. The market's not big enough for everyone, he stressed.
Average daily paid distribution from Oct 2006 to Sep 2007
Title: Publisher: Distribution:
Fakt Axel Springer 512,518
Gazeta Wyborcza Agora 450,738
Super Express Media Express 199,089
Dziennik Axel Springer 196,575
Rzeczpospolita Presspublica 160,517