Upheavals in Advertising

These are dynamic times for those in the mainstream media. Audiences are moving from print to online and taking ad revenue with them. Media groups that provide the news, information and dialogue are moving, too – with people and resources.

In a blink, the information age has past, this is truly the imagination age. New media is now mainstream media. Most people take for granted how much communication and network technology is revolutionizing society. For those of us early adapters we can witness and appreciate the journey.

The American Press Institute, along with Ottaway Newspapers Inc president and chief operating officer, John Wilcox and industry innovators, collaborating on “Newspaper Next: The Transformation Project,” A two million-dollar project to invent and test new business models to help newspapers thrive in the next decade. The goal is to: Assess the threat to newspapers in the next decade, including emerging competition; determine opportunities for newspapers, including implementation of available new technology; suggest executable new business initiatives—products, services and strategies—with detailed rationales; provide implementation guides for these business plans.

It took most of a year to complete and for those of us working in the trenches, this was an eternity.
The task force’s recommendations were recently released in the form of a 96 page whopper PDF Blueprint For Transformation.

New technology is changing the way people traditionally use and receive their news. Expanding digital technologies transfer advertising dollars away from traditional media and to the Internet

Dave Morgan asks the question at OnlineSpin:

When offline media fully transforms into digital media, what will happen to its talent? What will happen to the content makers? What will happen to the creators of the advertising? What will happen to the ad buyers? The ad sellers?  

Most sectors of the media are cutting back in the newsroom, both in terms of staff and in the time they have to gather and report the news. While there are exceptions, in general journalists face real pressures trying to maintain quality. More than ever, media companies and their profit margins are undermining the purpose of the profession. Most sectors of the media are cutting back in the newsroom, both in terms of staff and in the time they have to gather and report the news.

Today, many of the costs in the media industry go to funding analog production and distribution. In the print world, it is about paper and ink, printing presses and strappers, mailrooms and delivery trucks. In the television world, it is all about million-dollar cameras and billion-dollar studio complexes, broadcast towers and satellite uplinks, and FCC licenses. These assets have been where the first dollars have typically been spent in the industry, because these assets have been the price of admission to the media world. It’s not unusual for offline media companies to allocate one-half or more of their total economics to supporting these costs. In this world, while talent may help differentiate companies, the economics that flow to talent tend to come in a distant second, and tend to be concentrated in only a few hands, since the offline media world of heavily fixed cost structures is necessarily a “hits-driven” world.

While there are exceptions, in general journalists face real pressures trying to maintain quality. As an Ohio University study shows, the number of investigative reporters fell by half since 1980. As a result, those who would manipulate the press and public appear to be gaining leverage over the journalists who cover them. Press releases, public speeches, VNRs, floggers all work to draw attention to a particular topic and away from others, to convey certain information in a certain way. Government and corporate PR, spoon feeding “news” to TV stations, who usually don’t even bother crediting the source of these packaged stories.

  • 85% of America’s investigative reporters have lost their jobs as media corporations replace in-depth investigations of government misdeeds with celebrity gossip.
  • Since 1975, two-thirds of independent newspaper owners and one-third of independent TV owners have disappeared.

As media companies continue to merge and grow, the news gets further and further away from ordinary lives and concerns. Independent, community-owned media becomes critical because they can cover issues in depth, shedding light on them until they are resolved. Neighborhoods without their own media resources have little access to local news and information

  • 80% of content for NY Times Feature Section comes from outside contributors.

As we become truly global society, we must ourselves take charge of change. We must creatively seek out new opportunities, reallocate our resources and build on our strengths — current and emerging – and develop the strategies and tactics for success. At the same time, we must design administrative structures; policies land procedures to assure that our efforts and outreach can be supported. We must be responsive to the community and to a society, which places its trust in us to address the many issues and look out for the publics’ interests.

  • Media groups have challenged license renewals for TV stations in Chicago and Milwaukee, as local TV stations spent only 1% of news time on local elections, and hence failed to ‘serve the public interest’.
  • Advertising is like white noise to most of us

    Experts estimate the average person is exposed to 237 advertisements a day,
    …or 86,500 advertisements a year.

    New media is now the Main Stream

    As of 2007,  50 percent of all media is be digital, rising to 66 percent in 2010 and 80 percent by 2020.  There now more content in digital form than all the content that has ever existed in all recorded history.Recent media trends indicate 2006 the “tipping point” for offline ad dollars moving online.  

    Online advertising is up 31% in 2006. Online readership is growing. Online newspapers drew an average of 57 million visitors a month — a 24% increase from last year, according to a report by the Newspaper Association of America. Almost half of the online local ad dollars went to sites controlled by newspapers.

Spending on new media is expected to reach $16.6 billion next year and will account for 26.3 percent of all ad spending by 2009. As a result of increased broadband content offerings, rich media spending will see a 66 percent surge, and nearly half of the ad executives said they plan to increase Internet ad spending by 30 percent or more. Traditional media can’t match the targeting and engagement capabilities, nor can they deliver direct evidence of effectiveness.

I think this will happen in the media world, too. As offline media companies see their revenues continue to slow down, they will lay off more and more people. At the same time, the burgeoning digital media industries will value these people for what they can do and will give them new opportunities. They will do well. They will be the new content builders. They will the new sellers of Web video advertising. They will be the new planners of truly integrated digital marketing programs. Their only wonder will be why they didn’t leave sooner.

The payoff today is in the exploitation, not the creation, of technology. To succeed we must be innovative in process, thoughts, tactics and method – Treat information and knowledge as a renewable resource under the concept of sustainable development. Begin conceiving and planning strategically about the deployment of our newsgathering resources in a world in which news has become an on-demand commodity.“At the end of the day, there’s far more money made from people who figure out how to use technology than create it,” says Haft, CFO and co-founder of USCondex. “It’s not the sheer technology that’s interesting, but the know-how in a business sense to create a compelling venture.”

It’s Not About Strategy, It’s About Execution!

Money follows motion, so make motion. Which means more than just re-creating the print product online. It means understanding the culture of the Internet, and of blogging in particular, and understanding how we can work on and with the Internet (i.e., with users of that medium) to expand the quantity and quality of the local news, information and dialogue we provide.

Leverage to capture some of the $100+ billion local ad market. The biggest growth opportunity lies in attracting national advertisers.

 A number of media outlets sponsor charitable causes, especially if the charity holds large events through which the publication, radio or TV stations can build brand awareness and loyalty.Sponsorship Opportunities

Cause-Related Marketing – A 2003 survey found that 71 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a product if it helps a charity. The Internet is not for passive consumption, encourage action! The current expansion is driven not only be technology, but by the various causes of the people who use it. The new web allows people to create value just by speaking up.

New media will create opportunities for small business. The winners this holiday season will not be the box stores or even the large online retailers, but the small Internet retailers. Businesses that succeed will be those that combine advertising efforts and invest in a range of media sources.

Syndicated Content: For newspapers to see solid revenue gains through their web sites, they must realize the power of their news brands online. Local sites branded by premium news outlets are delivering committed, high-demographic audiences. Syndicated online advertising allows local targeting with a national reach and allows targeted marketing of content across channels. Stand-alone syndicated ads see higher clicks – consumers are more likely to click on ads presented as stand-alone posts than on ads within posts.

  • News Aggregation – Create a recognized national/international news destination site by pooling resources.

Create local ad networks  Aggregate every site and every page and every blog with any local connection onto local ad networks to create the kind of massive scale that advertisers want. This is already done on the national level; it should be done at the local level. This means that newspaper companies need to exclusively aggregate hundreds of sites into their own networks, impose standardized ad units driven by their own centralized systems, and leverage their unfair competitive advantage–their large, local feet-on-the-street sales forces–to sell all of this inventory.

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