In his visit in Bucharest, occasioned by the publication of the group’s financial results, together with Marius Hagger, director of Ringier Romania, Christian Unger-CEO and Marco Castellaneta – Director Coporate Communications, Michael Ringier said the extent of the damage on media companies varies from difficult to disastrous due to financial crisis.

“Although we are facing tough times, I remain optimistic given the history of this brand, my confidence in journalism and in the web world. This company withstood two world wars, many generations and somber scenarios. But in fact, no other media speaks about the death of a newspaper than the newspaper itself”, said Michael Ringier (photo).

Long term plans of a company should entail constant reviews of company-wide activities, considering the moment and situation.

On the other hand, Ringier official outlined the fact that the media group he runs would not sell any stake or move into web-only content anytime in the near future.

“The web is not the answer to all problems affecting the print industry. It could be within approximately ten years. I do believe in the strong synergy between online and print. I love internet, I spend 2-3 hours a day navigating online and I do understand its barrier – the fact that there is no barrier. However, online journalism doesn’t have precise business patterns”, said Ringier.

Marius Hagger, managing director of Ringier Romania said that the coming period could bring new opportunities in print industry following a contraction of the market – fewer newspapers and publishers.

“Our worst case scenario included a 20% reduction of advertising sales, but now, our assumption indicates a 50% decrease. I think we will see fewer newspapers and fewer publishers in the marketplace”, said Hagger.

As long as the company affords, he commented, it will continue printing newspapers. Shifting to online-only content is not an option at this time.

“There are boundaries. We may look for online ways much sooner than expected for some titles. But we strongly believe in print. We have built the printing house in Chitila and I see no reason why we should close down or shift titles to online. In print industry, people pay for what they consume, quality costs money”, said Marius Hagger, forecasting a turnaround of print industry as of 2011.