Archive for April 2009

How Publishers Can Get Advertisers To Spend In A Recession

April 28, 2009

Nicholas Carlson|Apr. 14, 2009, 7:58 AM|10
Tags: Media, Internet, Advertising, Big Media, Publishing, Digital Publishing

How can a publisher or ad agencies get advertisers to loosen to their purse strings in the midst of a frightful recession?

The secret to thriving in the recession isn’t cutting costs in advertising or avoiding acquisitions, writes the New Yorker’s James Surowiecki. He says that 20th Century history shows it’s best to spend and spend big:

In 1927, the economist Roland Vaile found that firms that kept ad spending stable or increased it during the recession of 1921-22 saw their sales hold up significantly better than those which didn’t. A study of advertising during the 1981-82 recession found that sales at firms that increased advertising or held steady grew precipitously in the next three years, compared with only slight increases at firms that had slashed their budgets. And a McKinsey study of the 1990-91 recession found that companies that remained market leaders or became serious challengers during the downturn had increased their acquisition, R. & D., and ad budgets, while companies at the bottom of the pile had reduced them.

But hold on a second! Don’t those studies just prove that recessions make strong companies stronger and weak companies disappear? No! says James. In fact, recessions are the best time for market-share trailing companies to make up ground and even become industry leaders.

That’s what Chrysler did launching and marketing the Plymouth brand line during the Great Depression. By 1933, Chrysler passed Ford as the number two automaker. James points out that Korean carmaker Hyundai has increased its marketing during this recession and already has seen the benefits, posting huge gains in market share.

Other products launched and heavily marketed during a recession include:

Kraft’s Miracle Whip in 1933
Texas Instruments’ transistor radio in 1954
Apple’s iPod in 2001


Bill to widen scope of Sunshine Law gets first approval

April 27, 2009

By Chris Blank   -The Associated Press-  April 22, 2009

Jefferson City — The House gave first-round approval Tuesday to a bill expanding Missouri’s Sunshine Law but narrowly defeated an effort to subject members’ individual offices to open-records laws.

The legislation, approved by voice vote, requires earlier notice of local public meetings on a variety of often- controversial issues. It increases the fines for some violations of open- records and meetings laws. And it requires more of the Missouri Ethics Commission’s meetings and documents to be made public.

The bill, House Bill 316, needs another vote before moving to the Senate.
The Republican-led House rejected on a largely partisan 81-79 vote an effort to extend the Sunshine Law to the communications of individual lawmakers and public officials while working in their official capacities on state-funded equipment.

The legislature and its committees already must follow the Sunshine Law, but lawmakers have interpreted the law to exempt individual members.

Rep. Jake Zimmerman, D-Olivette, sponsored the amendment, saying he believes the law likely already applies to individual lawmakers. If not, he said, it should.
Rep. Tim Jones, R-Eureka, the sponsor of the overall measure, said Zimmerman’s amendment was too broad and could make local government workers’ e-mails public records. Jones defended how the legislature has handled requests for documents from individual lawmakers’ offices.

“I’m not sure that Sunshine should apply to each individual member of the body as an individual, because we cannot direct any public agency on our own,” said Jones.

Jones is an attorney whose practice includes searching for information and obtaining public records. He has worked on the Sunshine Law bill for the past year and said it largely focuses on local government agencies, where there tends to be less oversight.

The measure places restrictions on who may attend closed meetings of local governments, which would have to publish minutes of such meetings briefly describing what was discussed.

Government entities would have to give five days’ notice, instead of the standard 24 hours, before meetings on such issues such as tax increases, eminent domain, zoning and transportation development districts.

Meetings covering those topics must allow time for the public to comment after the proposal has been presented. If a government agency holds a meeting without providing enough notice, there couldn’t be a vote for 20 days.

The legislation also would increase fines against agencies that violate the Sunshine Law.

Currently, those that “knowingly” violate the law can be fined up to $1,000, and “purposeful” violations can result in fines of up to $5,000. Jones’ bill would require a $1,000 fine for knowing violations and a penalty of up to $8,000 for purposeful violations.

The legislation also would force the state Ethics Commission to open more of its meetings and release additional documents.

The six-member commission operates largely in secret while investigating campaign-finance and public- integrity complaints against politicians. Only the final decisions are publicized, and generally not until several days later..
Under the bill, investigation reports would be open records if the complaint is sustained.


April 27, 2009

Newspaper Web Sites Set Records for Audience, Page Views and Active Reach; Latest Scarborough Research: Newspapers Attract Key Demographics in Print and Online

Arlington, Va. – Newspaper Web sites attracted more than 73.3 million monthly unique visitors on average (43.6 percent of all Internet users) in the first quarter of 2009, a record number that reflects a 10.5 percent increase over the same period a year ago, according to a custom analysis provided by Nielsen Online for the Newspaper Association of America.

In addition, newspaper Web site visitors generated an average of more than 3.5 billion page views per month throughout the quarter, an increase of 12.8 percent over the same period a year ago (3.1 billion page views). These figures are the highest for any quarter since NAA began tracking the data in 2004.

“Digital success has become a critical component of newspapers’ transformation, and these record audience numbers provide further proof that Americans continue to rely on the trusted newspaper brand for highly accurate news and information in print and online,” said NAA President and CEO John F. Sturm.

“In an increasingly challenging media environment, consumers know they can turn to newspapers – whether in hardcopy or digital form – for insightful analysis and comprehensive reporting on the issues that impact their lives day in and day out.”

From Nielsen Online:
Month Unique Audience Active Reach Percentage Page Views Pages per person Time Per Person (mm:ss) Visits Per Person Jan-09 74,811,622 44.34 3,725,769,971 49.80 45:58 8.48 Feb-09 71,802,892 43.02 3,492,080,132 48.63 43:54 7.79 Mar-09 73,308,926 43.42 3,393,482,352 46.29 41:33 8.31 Q1 Average 73,307,813 43.59 3,537,110,818 48.24 43:48 8.19
Source: Nielsen Online Custom Analysis*

Month Unique Audience Active Reach Percentage Page Views Pages per person Time Per Person (mm:ss) Visits Per Person Jan-08 66,880,280 41.32 3,228,542,924 48.27 45:49 8.48 Feb-08 66,546,096 41.00 3,064,614,644 46.05 43:09 8.07 Mar-08 65,685,195 39.90 3,111,859,189 47.38 43:37 8.30

Q1 Average 66,370,524 40.74 3,135,005,252 47.23 44:18 8.28
Source: Nielsen Online Custom Analysis*

Newspaper Web Sites Capturing Desirable Demographics Another aspect of newspapers’ online audience was released in the latest data from Scarborough Research,** which provides further evidence of newspapers’ ability to deliver valuable demographics to advertisers. Research highlights include: 34 percent of Americans with a post graduate degree have visited a newspaper Web site in the past week. Nearly nine in 10 (87 percent) of those in this group either visited a newspaper Web site or read a print newspaper in the last seven days. 32.4 percent of people who have purchased a house, condominium or co-op in the last year visited a newspaper Web site last week (84.8 percent have read the newspaper in print or online in the last seven days). 28.2 percent of those with a household income of $100,000 or more have visited a newspaper Web site in the last seven days; 82.7 percent of that group either read a print newspaper or visited a newspaper Web site in the same time period. 29.9 percent of those whose occupation is in management, business or financial operations visited a newspaper Web site in the last week (80.9 percent read the paper in print or online in the last seven days). “The latest findings from Scarborough Research help put a face to the millions of Americans who visit newspaper Web sites each month ,” explained Randy Bennett, NAA’s senior vice president of Business Development. “Quarter after quarter, newspaper Web sites and their print counterparts attract a growing, affluent and highly educated audience that delivers unparalleled value to advertisers.” NAA Analysis: Latest Trends Bennett provides further information and perspective on these numbers in NAA’s latest podcast. * The Nielsen Online newspaper total audience represents a de-duplicated visitor total based on its RDD (Random Digit Dial) recruited, combined home and work panel of Internet users (i.e. an individual who might read a national newspaper plus their local newspaper online is only counted once). The target sample (2 years or older) has access from a non-shared PC at work and/or access from home. The Nielsen Online monthly newspaper total represents the de-duplicated reach of a custom list of hundreds of sites collectively. ** From Scarborough Research, Release 2, 2008, Multi-Market Report NAA is a nonprofit organization representing the $47 billion newspaper industry and more than 2,000 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada. NAA members include daily newspapers, as well as non-dailies, other print publications and on-line products. Headquartered near Washington, D.C., in Arlington, Va., the Association focuses on the major issues that affect today’s newspaper industry: public policy/legal matters, advertising revenue growth and audience development across the medium’s broad portfolio of products and digital platforms. Information about NAA and the industry also may be found at

“Do Some Good: Create Newspaper Ads”

April 1, 2009

Viewpoint: Mike Hughes, The Martin Agency by Mike Hughes
Published: March 25, 2009

It’s time the advertising industry did something important.

For our own self-interest — and for the common good — we need to start paying attention to newspapers again. To begin with, it would be good for our business. For our own selfish reasons, we need a medium that targets the well-informed. We need a medium that lets us tell our whole story — and not just the 30-second version. With each passing month, we need more media that target people where they live. We need more media that let marketers build a brand and ask for the business. We need more media that let writers, art directors, photographers and illustrators practice their crafts.

We need a medium with the immediacy and importance of newspapers. Lee Clow says, “Newspaper is a special medium. It’s urgent, not yesterday or tomorrow but today. Sitting with a newspaper and a cup of coffee in the morning will always be one of the most intimate media experiences there is.”

Online or in print, we need newspapers. There are no substitutes. Magazines, TV channels and websites don’t do the same things. Not even close.

Our industry needs newspapers — but just as important, so does humankind. The world needs the kind of journalism practiced by newspapers when they’re at their best. The local investigative pieces. The foreign correspondence. The war reporting. Without them, news goes unreported. Viewpoints are narrowed. Governments can run amok.

That kind of reporting is expensive, and right now no one knows how it will get paid for in the coming years. With newspapers cutting costs every day, who will pay to man a substantial bureau in Baghdad? Who will spend the money to report the atrocities in Africa? Who will find the resources to blow the whistle on the next Watergate?

Even at their best, magazines, TV channels and websites don’t come close to giving us that kind of reporting. Of course, humankind’s problem isn’t necessarily the advertising industry’s problem. If online and print newspapers weren’t proven effective, no one would say our industry needs to address this important problem. But decades worth of evidence — including evidence gathered in 2009 — points to the uncommon efficacy of newspaper advertising. You know how excited our industry gets about the Super Bowl? Well, every single day of the year, more American adults read a printed newspaper than watch the big game once a year. And in 22 of the top 25 markets, the local-newspaper site is the No. 1 local site in town. And the newspaper-website audience has grown 80% in the past five years.

So why aren’t we creating more newspaper advertising? Part of the answer is undoubtedly fashion. Twenty-five years ago, an advertising campaign usually meant “TV and some print. Maybe radio.” That was the fashion then. Say “campaign” to ad people today, and their minds leap to “TV and digital.” We say we’re media-agnostic, but our behavior often says something else entirely. How many agencies aren’t selling newspaper advertising to their clients as hard as they should? How many advertisers are overlooking the medium that still has unsurpassed credibility with its audience? It’s time for a wake-up call.

No less an authority than Jeff Goodby reminds us that far from being out-of-fashion, a good newspaper ad is actual art. “The art is the part that gets people to look. Show outrageous things that don’t belong there. Shock people with a new logic,” he says. “If we all do this, it will become very difficult to find which newspaper page we want to wrap the fish in. “I will like that day.”

Let me be clear here. I don’t think the newspaper industry is going to die anytime soon. With some well-publicized exceptions, most papers are surviving the economy’s near collapse. They might be holding on by their fingernails, but at least they’re holding on. But if the newspaper business is going to give us the content our industry feeds on — and if it’s going to give us the journalism the world needs — newspapers need to be robust. If we don’t give them a fair shot at our budgets, they might never be healthy enough to do the job we want them to do. And we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves. Thank you.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR –Mike Hughes is president and creative director at the Martin Agency, which is also the agency of record for the Newspaper Association of America. Mr. Hughes began his career as a newspaper reporter and editor. He’s a member of the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame and chairman of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Brandcenter. The Virginia General Assembly named Mike and his partner, John Adams, Outstanding Industrialists of the Year in 2000.