Archive for November, 2010

Newspapers pushed for guarantees

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Two print media buying groups that control about $2 billion in annual spending are demanding that newspapers provide circulation guarantees, and the nation’s largest newspapers are acceding, according to Mediaweek.

Dean Singleton, chairman and CEO, MediaNews Group, told the publication that newspapers have never guaranteed circulation, and suggested using “audience” or readership instead. Readership numbers are higher than circulation, based on the theory that most copies of a newspaper are read by more than one person.

Singleton also said that rate bases would complicate the ad-sales process because buyers don’t want multiple ways of doing business, Mediaweek said. (Wouldn’t it mean switching to this way of doing business, complicating things for a time for ad sellers?)

MediaVest and Starcom USA are the two groups pushing for the new standards. The New York Times and USA Today are among those said to have agreed to the demands.

Tribune Co. and The Wall Street Journal already offer circulation guarantees.

Radio revenue rising

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

The Radio Advertising Bureau says advertising revenue rose 5 percent year-over-year in the third quarter and is up about 6 percent for the year through September.

There was growth in every segment, the RAB said. But, “Local advertising revenue, long the mainstay of the radio business, increased a relatively modest 3 percent to $2.97 billion in the third quarter, while national jumped 10 percent to $700 million,” Media Daily News said Friday.

Retailers like Facebook for marketing

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Facebook is where it’s at for retailers with a promotional message to get out, and such “owned media” is poised to edge out paid advertising.

Out of 100 U.S. retailers surveyed by Media Logic between July and September, 15 had more than 1 million “likers” and even more top 1 million today, including JC Penny, Target and Kohl’s, which has 3 million, according to a summary of the report. In 2009, only Victoria’s Secret and its PINK division could claim more than 1 million Facebook fans.

“It is not hyperbole to say that Facebook may be to this century what TV was to the last,” Ronald Ladouceur, EVP and executive creative director of Media Logic, said. “In 2010, owned media came of age, and is now set to rival paid media for primacy.”

Edmonds: Newspapers aren’t rebounding

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Rick Edmonds, who tracks and analyzes the latest media business developments for Poynter online at The Biz Blog, explains the last year, if not few years, in newspapers in a post titled Seven Reasons Newspapers Are Not Rebounding Financially.”

“The good news first,” Edmonds writes. “Newspapers are solvent and profitable, often quite profitable on an operating basis. Only a handful went out of business during the great recession. Newspaper companies now are generating enough cash to pay down debt and finance robust exploration of potential new digital revenue streams.

“But I see at least seven signs of continuing trouble in the near term and a bumpy path to the mythical ‘new business model.'”

Edmonds’ seven signs (which he discusses):

1. Advertising revenues are still falling.
2. Online and other digital growth doesn’t take up the slack.
3. Newsprint prices are rising again.
4. Other cost reductions are cycling through.
5. Circulation revenues have gone flat.
6. The “death spiral” cycle continues.
7. Debt continues to be problematic.

A win for newspapers in Kansas City

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Bottom Line Communications, which follows media and marketing issue in the Kansas City area, says a local supermarket chain that left the Kansas City Star for direct mail marketing is taking its advertising back to the newspaper.

The chain, Hen House, has 29 stores in the area.

The KC Star is a McClatchy newspaper, and we saw this first at McClatchy Watch.

Mobile gets more attention, brings little money

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Newspaper publishers are embracing mobile platforms – iPad, tablet, e-reader and smart phones – more this year than last and say mobile will be important for their future but there’s still not much money on the horizon, according to a survey by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

The numbers show 87 percent of respondents saying mobile is receiving more attention at their publication than in 2009, and that 65 percent think digital delivery of their publication is important to their strategic future, up from 55 percent last year.

But only 37 percent of publishers surveyed said they expect mobile revenues to “significantly impact” their revenue streams within the next two years. And, “Despite the increased focus on the mobile market, publishers still believe that their print publication is valuable and will continue to exist,” E&P said. “Seventy-eight percent of respondents overwhelmingly disagreed that their publications would be delivered in a digital-only format within the next five years.”

While real money maybe a ways away if it ever comes from mobile platforms, publishers hope to make what they can through advertising and subscriptions. “Respondents said sponsorship, search, video and banner advertising have the greatest likelihood of success,” E&P said. “Many plan to offer consumers the option of purchasing a bundled subscription that may include a print publication, mobile app and website access all for one price.”

Don’t dismiss older consumers, NBCU says

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

NBC Universal is telling advertisers that old folks spend money more than they think they do and they should be targeted with advertising.

By “old,” they mean people aged 55 to 64, a new demographic group dubbed the “AlphaBoomers.”

“Every seven seconds someone turns 55, and once they do, they are eliminated from the highest-end Nielsen demo measurement: 25-54,” Allen Wurtzel, president of research and media development at NBCU, told Mediaweek. “It is the fastest-growing demo group in the country and now numbers 35 million people that account for close to $2 trillion in annual spending.”

AlphaBoomers  have a median household income of $69,000, dwarfing that of those under 25 ($27,000), better than the 25-34 group ($58,000), and close to those 35-44 ($75,000).

Wurtzel and NBCU want Nielsen to make the older demo group official and start counting it in ratings, but the entire industry needs to accept the idea to make it worthwhile.

“Wurtzel [said] the goal of creating the new demo as part of industry currency is not to impact program development to people in that age group, but to get advertisers to realize that people in that demo make buying decisions similar to younger demos,” Mediaweek said.

Charlotte’s online newspaper for the masses

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

In a detailed Charlotte Magazine piece about the Internet-age transformation of the Charlotte Observer, Publisher Ann Caulkins predicts 20 percent of the company’s total ad revenue will come from the Internet by year’s end and in five years nearly half will be from the Web.

But while its 22 Facebook pages, 31 Twitter feeds and 40+ blogs bring the Observer more readers than ever, so far the online transformation isn’t paying the bills.

“At the top of the front page, the Observer brags it is ‘Read by 1 million+ in print and online.’ The total monthly number of different readers from everywhere is a whopping 2.3 million, which would have been a staggering number of readers for any newspaper in the pre-Internet days. Therein lies the problem. As sportswriter [Ron Green Jr.] puts it, ‘If you look at our business model, we’re trying to sell something (the news) that’s now free.’ Basically, if you read the Observer website in the evening, you won’t learn much new by purchasing next morning’s print edition. The other problem with the Observer’s business model is that it really relies on advertising revenue, and so far, an online ad brings in a fraction of the revenue a print ad does.”

Meanwhile, the money-making “print edition has lost one out of five readers in the past six years, and Sunday readership is down 8 percent in the same time frame,” the magazine says.

In the future, Caulkins predicts, the print edition will be a niche publication “mainly for the affluent and well educated, a readership highly coveted by advertisers.” The Web will be for the masses.