Bad News, Good News for Newspapers

It’s mostly bad news. As MediaPost explains in some detail, classifieds were off nearly 25% in Q1. Online revenues grew just over 7%, while total print advertising revenues were off 14.3% (national, retail and classifieds). Both cyclical and structural factors are playing here.

On the semi-bright side, newspaper site traffic is growing (per Nielsen). And a new study under the title “When Advertising Works” from consumer research firm Yankelovich compared the effectiveness of traditional and digital media. According to a report in the NY Times, this is the bottom line:

When asked what kind of an impression the ad made, 56 percent of survey respondents said traditional media ads made a positive impression, in contrast to 31 percent who said that about digital media ads. Thirteen percent reported a negative impression of traditional media ads versus 21 percent for digital media ads. Thirty-two percent said they had neither a positive nor a negative impression of traditional media ads, in contrast to 48 percent who said they had neither a good or bad impression of digital media ads.

In other words, traditional ads were more favorably regarded that online advertising. Here’s some explanation from Yankelovich:

A principal reason for those results, said J. Walker Smith, president at the Yankelovich Monitor division of Yankelovich in Atlanta, was that for ads that made an impression, consumers using traditional media were in a more positive mood and more likely to be interested in entertainment and relaxation. By comparison, consumers using digital media were more likely to be in busy moods, seeking control or solving a problem, Mr. Smith said, and they were more likely to be by themselves. In contrast, traditional media are often watched, listened to or read by people in groups.

This finding was also interesting:

Another highlight of the study, according to Mr. Smith, is that ads that made an impression in traditional media were more likely to stimulate word of mouth than ads that made an impression in digital media.

Last year, Nielsen similarly found the traditional media ads were more trusted than most online ad types. Accordingly, one might conclude that traditional advertising has greater “impact,” while online is more “efficient” in some respects.

What all this means is that large advertisers cannot and should not abandon traditional media (see also the discussion of findings re the “synergy” between newspapers and online). They must learn to integrate and combine traditional and online more effectively.

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One Response to “Bad News, Good News for Newspapers”

  1. Zoomf Blog - UK Property Blog » Blog Archive » Friday in a lunchbox… Says:

    […] Online newspapers continue to save the day as classified sales diminish. US classifieds sales were off by nearly 25% in Q1 according to this post, but traffic to online newspaper sites is growing, as are online revenues. It’s an American article, but the same story is happening here on our little island. Read more at Screenwerk. […]

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