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Commentary & Analysis

Print is New Media. Again

By Frank J.

By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: August 30, 2005

By Frank J. Romano A new study that shows that a 30-second radio spot nets advertisers a far better return on investment than a 30-second television commercial. August 30, 2005 -- Old media, new media. I am getting tired if it. Call it tedia. I read an article recently that called radio "old media." If radio is old media, why isn't television also old media? These terms have become pejorative depending on the agenda of the user. Age does not matter. I say there is media, period. Newspapers, radio, and magazines are spending millions to combat the perception they're old media. Facing sluggish ad growth, AM and FM radio operators are banding together. A radio industry research group released the findings of a new study that shows that a 30-second radio spot nets advertisers a far better return on investment than a 30-second television commercial. The study is the result of a $5 million industry-funded research group whose mission is to help radio station owners combat competitive technologies. Yet, radio is touting "podcasting" in which users can download radio shows onto their computer disk drives or portable devices. Old and new can work together. Magazine publishers, who saw a severe ad slump in 2001, have developed a three-year, $40 million marketing campaign that is a first for their very competitive industry. The Magazine Publishers Association ran ads in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and various trade publications using fake magazine covers to creatively convey the message that the industry is still vital. And almost every magazine has a companion website--where the old meets the new. Newspapers see old and new together and re taking business risks they never did before. Newspaper publishers have greater challenges: competition from the Internet, a circulation scandal, and the opinion that they're unappealing to young readers. Publishers are gearing up for a major ad campaign this fall via the Newspaper Association of America. Newspaper publishers are also planning an ad campaign next year to convince advertisers to look past current circulation measures, which they don't believe accurately reflect how many people read newspapers. I often have two or three people looking over my shoulder as I read and there is the guy who digs into the trash for my discarded copy. Newspaper and magazine publishers are looking to tap digital technologies for new revenue streams, including distributing content to cell phones and other wireless devices. Newspapers, criticized for failing to see the revenue potential of online job searches and other forms of classified advertising, are taking business risks now that they never did before. They now see old and new together. Newspapers, radio, and magazines still control about half of the $180 billion plus U.S. advertising market. But their growth rates are among the slowest of all major media. Will they lose out to the faster-growing Internet and cable television? No. There will always be ad dollars shifting among media. It is a case of moving the dollars around to create a blend of media--especially print--to accomplish their objectives. This year, cable may be hot; next year it may be Internet. How do I know this? We have been interviewing key individuals for a new PIA/GATF project, M4D. (Full details will be released at Print '05) We have learned that it is a case of moving the dollars around to create a blend of media--especially print--to accomplish their objectives. They would never dream of putting all their ad dollars in one media basket. One media should not be picking on another media, because the people who pay the bills are using all media in concert--both old and new.

 

 

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