Newspaper Ad Resurgence? Not Likely.


An article in Ad Age says Newspaper Ad Revenue to Recover is yet another article that gave me hope from the headline.

Then I got depressed.  Then angry.
The article starts out, “Sorry, haters of traditional media: Newspapers’ slide is going to end.”
Sorry, Nat Ives, cheap lead.

I don’t hate traditional media. I began my career with the Star Gazette  back in the late 60s  when reporters had strove hard for objectivity in lean, accurate writing.

The Ad Age article looks at a Borrell Associates forecast that says ad revenues will be up 2.4% next year and up to more than 8% by 2014.  In his blog, Gordon Borrell goes into detail and hedges a bit on this forecast.

I buy the hedge.

Newspaper are desperately needed, along with magazines such as The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Wired, and others.  Listen to just a few episodes of Fresh Air, Terry Gross and Dave Davies rely heavily on reporters from The New Yorker, New York Times, Washington Post and a handful of others.
But to say that ad revenues are going to increase and people are going to start buying newspaper is wishful thinking.  Just keep clicking those ruby slippers.
Massive communication revolution = print  free fall.

Our local paper, The Star Gazette, was the first Gannett Newspaper. Today it’s a skeleton, its muscles ripped away by the corporation.
The folks at the top (print, radio, TV) saw the rise of the Internet and either ignored it, didn’t understand it, or did not find the right way to generate revenue.
They never dreamed  that people would actually choose other ways to get their news and entertainment.

Look, corporations, greater numbers of people are not  reading newspapers. Don’t tell me you’re going to have a smaller, educated audience. That continues to smack of elitism, self-aggrandizement, and, frankly delusion.
I want to say that no one under the age of 40 reads newspapers, but you know what? Fewer and fewer people under the age of 50 are reading newspapers.
Habits are formed in our first 18 years. If teens are not reading newspapers now, they are never going to.
I do see hope for well run local weeklies.  They’ve maintained a sense of community.  They’re the place where you can find wedding announcements, little league pictures and articles about local events and concerns.  Local businesses continue to advertise.

Why do I rant?  Because I’m very divided.  I grew up with newspapers and depended on them.  Now, as a PR person of 30+ years I need to know where my marketing, advertising and PR are most effective.

It’s not in print.

More in the next post.

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2 responses to “Newspaper Ad Resurgence? Not Likely.

  1. Pretty cool post. I just came by your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your posts.

    Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon!

  2. I have developed a ‘demo’ website which provides block ads to newspapers – designed by the customers rather than by an ad agency.

    http://www.adsbringcustomers.com

    The cost of newspaper advertising could be reduced this way.

    I am looking for newspaper partners.

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