Why I Switched Careers

It has now been a full month since I walked away from 8+ years working for a group of radio stations in Fort Wayne Indiana.

All together I have spent 25+ years in the radio business with a couple of breaks. I started as a teenage disc-jockey and moved into the advertising and marketing world which I found fascinating.

Radio uses push marketing methods. In order to get the free music, they will push advertising messages out too.

Television broadcasting works this way too. Newspapers also use push marketing methods… you want to read the news, then you have to page thru the ads too.

Yellow Pages is not push marketing. I don’t know of anyone who has casually paged thru the phone book as a source of entertainment.

The selling point for yellow pages sales reps was, the book was the place people go to find a business to spend money with to solve problems. Once you pick up the book, you are ready to spend.

Technology however has made the phone book and the yellow pages outdated. When we want an answer, we Google it. The web and search engines are replacing the yellow pages as the source for finding information and answers.

The other reason I switched careers, I believe in the methods used by my team at Cirrus ABS which combines sound technology, solid strategic planning and analytics to measure the results.

Our Sunday Seth talks more about this:

Paying attention to the attention economy

Most of us are happily obsessed with the economy of money. We earn it and we spend it and we generally pay attention to what things cost.

Certainly, salespeople and marketers are truly focused on the price of things, on commissions and shelving allowances and net margin and the cost of goods sold.

With all of these easily measured activity, it’s easy to overlook the fast-growing and ever more important economy based around attention.

“If I alert my entire customer base, how much will this cost me in permission?”

“How much time do we save our customers with a better written manual?”

“When we fail to ask for (and reward) the privilege of following up, are we wasting permission?”

“Does launching this product to an audience of stangers waste the attention we’re going to have to buy?”

Attention is a bit like real estate, in that they’re not making any more of it. Unlike real estate, though, it keeps going up in value.


Newspaper Update

We were talking last Friday about this in my last sales meeting with the radio stations:

Local Dailies Can Charge for Online Content, But They Bring in Pennies

The newspaper industry has been suffering a long and painful decline, but the 1,390 U.S. local dailies hanging in there are dabbling in charging for online content. However, the revenue generated through subscription plans is not looking that impressive.

We commented a few months ago that Gannett might be on to something with the paid-content models on the websites of three of its local newspaper websites because they applied economic basics: high demand, low supply. Say your local daily has the most comprehensive (or perhaps the only) coverage of a university’s athletic department — diehard fans (alumni, parents) are likely willing to pay a fee.

A new study from the Missouri School of Journalism’s Center for Advanced Social Research comprising 300 interviews with local dailies found that 46% of the newspapers surveyed with circulations of less than 25,000 charge for some online content, while 24% of newspapers with circulations above 25,000 do the same.

Of those that don’t charge, 35% are drawing up paid-content plans and 50% are mulling online subscription options. Just 15% aren’t considering charging for online content at all.

However, a third of the dailies with paid-content models believe the revenue from that source will contribute at most 20% of total digital revenue, with 10% expecting the subscription revenue to account for more. About 50% see only “a negligible contribution to the bottom line,” the report says.

It gets worse: 85% of these local dailies said digital revenue accounts for less than 15% of their revenue; in the next three years, 60% expect it to be more than 15%.

So it seems paid-content models for regional publications can bring in revenue, but it’s marginal at best — and probably not enough to offset the massive decline in local print advertising.

(Source: Gavin Dunaway, Adotas, 06/03/11)

Do You Read This?

In your newspaper?

Probably not.

Black, White and Red All Over: Newspaper Ads Dive

The first quarter of 2011 brought no relief for the newspaper industry, which suffered another round of declines in print advertising revenues.

The first-quarter results from the Newspaper Association of America stand out against a general recovery in ad spending for other media, and suggest that newspaper print ad revenues are locked into a permanent, long-term decline.

Total print advertising revenues fell 9.5% from $5.25 billion in the first quarter of 2010 to $4.75 billion in the first quarter of 2011, according to the NAA — the lowest first-quarter revenue figure since 1983.

Those stats are down 55% from 2006, when total first-quarter print revenues came to $10.5 billion. This marks the 20th straight quarter of year-over-year print revenue declines.

As in previous quarters, the losses were spread across all of the main advertising categories. National advertising fell 11% from $1.04 billion to $924 million; retail fell 9.5% from $2.95 billion to $2.67 billion; and classifieds fell 8.15% from $1.25 billion to $1.15 billion.

Within the classifieds category, automotive slipped 4.7% to $266.5 million and real estate tumbled 19.3% to $197.7 million. Only recruitment increased, ticking up 4.3% to $165.7 million. All other types of classifieds fell 8.5% to $520.8 million.

The one bright spot on the newspaper balance sheet was online ad revenues, which increased 10.6% from $730.4 million to $807.9 million, representing 14.5% of total industry advertising revenues. Combined online and print ad revenues decreased 7% to $5.56 billion.

(Source: Media Daily News, 06/01/11)

The Lies Media Companies Tell

I could go in all kinds of directions with that headline, but this site is focused on Media, Marketing, Advertising and Sales.

Advertisers and their ad agencies want to have confidence that the money they spend on their ads are going to reach enough people to be a profitable expenditure.

There are many, many, Many factors that are not easily measured, but there are some standards of measurement that are accepted by most in the biz.

Now, due to the decline in printed newspaper circulation that business is now presenting their data differently.

What does this have to do with advertising effectiveness? Not much in my opinion.

Formula Changes For Determining Newspaper Circulation Figures

The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and The New York Times Rank as Three Largest Weekday Papers

The Wall Street Journal has retained its crown as the country’s largest weekday newspaper, reporting total average circulation of 2.1 million over the six months ending in March, followed by USA Today at 1.8 million and The New York Times at 916,911.

The Journal increased its average weekday circulation by 1.2% from the six months ending in March 2010, while USA Today edged up 0.1% and The Times declined 3.6%.

The Journal’s total was aided by its paid digital circulation, which increased 21.9% to 504,734, while its weekday print circulation slipped 3.9% to 1,613,062.

USA Today’s circulation increased year-over-year for the first time since September 2008.

What you can’t get from the new round of figures, however, is the usual sense from reports past of how overall newspaper circulation has changed since the equivalent period a year earlier.

That’s because The Audit Bureau of Circulations, whose board is composed of advertisers and newspapers, has changed the rules. Instead of reporting total paid circulation, which required that readers paid one way or another, newspapers now report total average circulation, including editions under different names that publish at least weekly — as long as they are labeled to include the word ‘edition’ — such as commuter or alternative language papers.

The 10th-largest weekday paper in the current report, for example, is the Chicago Sun-Times, whose 419,407 average Monday-through-Friday circulation includes 168,299 copies attributed to branded editions. In the report a year ago, the Chicago Sun-Times ranked 17th with average weekday circulation of 268,803.

Complimentary copies ordered by businesses such as hotels, airlines and beauty salons used to count as unpaid; under the new rules they count toward “total average circulation” under a new “verified” category.

But not all the changes will help newspapers increase their totals. Copies distributed in an uncontrolled environment such as a festival formerly qualified as a kind of paid circulation, but now are called unpaid and cannot be counted toward total average circulation.

For many papers, however, their top-line circulation figures include exactly or roughly the same circulation sources as before.

“The new definitions and formats reflect changes in the way publishers market their newspapers to readers, allowing newspaper companies to more accurately portray the powerful audiences they deliver across a multitude of print, digital and mobile platforms,” said John Sturm, president and CEO of the Newspaper Association of America, in a statement.

(Source: Advertising Age, 05/03/11)

What Killed The Newspaper?

Some people believe that it was a lack of interest in reading a newspaper that is killing the newspaper industry.

While that is partially true, nearly every time I visit a coffee shop with my laptop, there is someone reading the newspaper.

But they are usually someone older than me. Mediapost has info on where we want to go to get our news. Click here for their report.

But it’s not the lack of readers that is killing print, it’s their source of income and business model.

From my email:

The Decade That Killed (Newspaper) Classifieds

The much-publicized woes of the newspaper industry are due, in large part, to the collapse of classified advertising revenues, and 2010 may well have been the year that buried them for good.

Wherever you looked — real estate, the job market, the auto industry — the news was bad, not to say disastrous. Combine that with the secular shift to online classifieds, and you have a perfect storm of adverse business conditions.

Classifieds used to be a mainstay of the newspaper business, reflecting their once-dominant position in local media markets. In 2000, classifieds contributed $19.6 billion or 40% of total newspaper ad revenues of $48.7 billion, according to the Newspaper Association of America.

But beginning in 2006, the market began softening noticeably, due to competition from free online classifieds offered by sites like Craigslist, compounded by the bursting of the real-estate bubble. From 2005-2007, total classified revenues slipped 18% from $17.3 billion to $14.2 billion, with real estate leading the way with a 22.6% drop in 2007.

And this was just the beginning.

The worldwide credit crisis and ensuing recession kicked the decline into high gear in 2008, when the real-estate category was joined in its pit of despair by employment and automotive — a triple whammy that has delivered newspaper classifieds’ coup-de-grace.

From 2007-2009, total classified revenues tumbled a remarkable 56% to just $6.2 billion — less than one-third of their 2000 level. And they’re still falling: In the first three quarters of 2010, total classified revenues came to just over $4 billion, down 10% from the same period last year.

The figures are even more incredible when you look at specific categories.

From $2.14 billion in the third quarter of 2000, employment classified revenue has fallen a breathtaking 91% to just $185 million in the third quarter of 2010. From a peak of $1.35 billion in the third quarter of 2006, real estate fell 78% to just $302 million in the same period this year. Meantime, automotive plunged from a peak of $1.22 billion in the third quarter of 2003 to $307 million this year — a 75% decline.

What’s more, the most recent economic data suggests there is no hope on the horizon for any of these beleaguered categories. The U.S. unemployment rate edged up 0.2% to 9.8% in November, after 112 out of 372 labor markets reported their highest unemployment rate in a decade in October. Residential real estate appears headed for a long-term stagnation or decline, reflected in a 1% decline in housing prices from September to October, and a 0.8% year-over-year decline as measured by the Case Shiller Composite-20 Index, leading many economists to predict a double dip in the housing market.

U.S. auto sales are the one relative bright spot, with Standard & Poor’s forecasting a 12.9% increase in new car sales in 2011, to about 13 million vehicles — but new auto sales don’t necessarily benefit newspaper classifieds.

While new car buyers traditionally have used cars to sell, this potential source of demand for classifieds was almost certainly diminished by the “Cash for Clunkers” program, which encouraged potential used car sellers to simply take their old vehicles out of circulation for good, rather than try to resell them.

(Source: Media Daily News, 01/03/11)

The Non-Paper Paper

Here in Fort Wayne the number one website for news belongs to our newspapers. They own FortWayne.com ! Smart move…

From MarketingCharts.com, click on the charts to make them bigger:

3 in 5 Web Users Read Online Newspapers

Almost three in five US internet users read newspapers online each month, according to comScore Media Metrix data.

57% of Web Audience Read Online Paper in May
Online newspapers received about 123.9 million unique US visitors in May 2010, or roughly 57% of the total monthly US unique internet audience of about 215.7 million users. Those visitors viewed about 5.3 billion pages, or about 0.9% of the total 592.5 billion pages viewed during the month. The average visitor viewed 43 newspaper pages, out of 2,747 total average pages viewed per visitor per month.

New York Times Leading Online Newspaper Brand
The New York Times brand led the online newspaper category during May 2010 with about 32.5 million unique visitors, or 26.2% of the total monthly audience. Those users viewed 719 million pages, or about 13.6% of the total 5.3 billion newspaper pages viewed during the month. The average New York Times visitor viewed 22 pages, more than half of the average 43 newspaper pages viewed per online newspaper reader per month.


Online Newspapers Attract High CPM Rate
Based on comScore’s April 2010 ranking of CPM (cost per thousand impressions) rates for different types of digital media, online newspapers led all top site categories where display ads appear. Online newspapers averaged a $6.99 CPM rate for the month, nearly three times the average CPM for the total US internet at $2.52. Sports ($6.29) and general news ($6.14) were the only other categories to have an average CPM rate of more than $5 during April 2010.


Online newspapers achieved this distinction despite having one of the lowest display ad impression totals (8.5 billion) and impression shares (2.4%) of any leading site category. Estimated spending on online newspaper display ads during April 2010 was about $59.4 million, or roughly 6.6% of the total $893.7 million comScore estimates was spent on online display advertising during the month. This amount placed online newspapers squarely in the middle (fifth) out of the top 10 site categories in terms of display ad dollars spent during April 2010.

Six in 10 Americans Get News Online
Sixty-one percent of Americans get some kind of news online during a typical day, according to a recent study from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. Most news consumers utilize multiple platforms for news, but online their range of specific outlets is limited. The majority of online news consumers (57%) say they routinely rely on just two to five websites for their news. Only 11% say they get their news from more than five websites, and 21% regularly rely on just one site.

If Newspapers were Websites..

Then maybe they would survive….

NAA Bonanza: Newspaper Web Sites Draw 74 Million

Newspaper Web sites drew a record-breaking average 74.4 million unique visitors per month in the first quarter of 2010, according to new figures from Nielsen Online released by the Newspaper Association of America. That’s up from 72 million unique visitors in the fourth quarter of 2009, and represents the highest quarterly average in history.

In proportional terms, the first-quarter number equals 37% of all U.S. Internet users. These visitors generated a monthly average of just under 3.25 billion page views per month from January-March, spending an average 2.34 billion minutes in over 592 million sessions per month — or an average 31:32 per person, divided among just under eight sessions per month.

On average, newspaper Web site visitors viewed 44 pages per month.

Because this data was generated by Nielsen Online using a new methodology introduced almost a year ago, Nielsen and the NAA warn that year-over-year comparisons may not be statistically valid. With that caveat in mind, a superficial comparison of this year’s stats with 2009’s suggests the total newspaper Web audience increased 1.5% from a monthly average of 73.3 million in the first quarter of 2009.

However, the total number of page views appears to have declined somewhat (8%) from 3.54 billion, while the number of visits per person stayed roughly the same (8.1 in the first quarter of 2009).

The increasing online audience numbers come as some major newspaper publishers report a rebound in their digital advertising revenues in the first quarter of 2010.

The New York Times Co. recently announced that digital-advertising revenues increased 18%, compared to the first quarter of 2009 to $80 million, while revenues at the About.com group — which is counted separately — increased 29.3% to $34.7 million.

Separately, McClatchy announced that digital-ad revenues rose 2.2% in the first quarter to $46.8 million.

However, digital ad revenues remain a fairly small part of the newspaper business overall — and they will have to deliver sustained growth to come anywhere near making up for catastrophic print losses over the last couple years.

After peaking at $49.3 billion in 2005, total newspaper ad revenues declined 44% to $27.6 billion in 2009, according to the latest figures from the Newspaper Association of America.

(Source: Media Daily News, 04/23/10)