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Panpa Bulletin : June 2006
June 2006 PANPA BULLETIN | 13 I n Australia, like many other developed media markets, we are seeing the dramatic rise of consum- er-driven mediums that allow the user to both create their own content and tailor other people's content to their ar- eas of special interest. These mediums do so in real time which has created a new expectation in imme- diacy of delivery. In effect, these digital media are driv- ing a fundamental shift in how people consume media and their expectations of the role of media in their lives. As a result all media are reviewing how they operate to ensure their ongoing rel- evance in this rapidly devel- oping media world. This is resulting in a breakdown of the traditional barriers be- tween mediums. The radio networks are podcasting, the TV networks and anyone with a distribu- tion network (in the US) is delivering video on demand, digital radio is broadcast by the Pay TV operators and eve- ryone is building their online presence. Newspapers are part of this process and have been aggressive players in the online space. They have also made significant changes to the physical product that is bought by consumers. One of the most visible changes has been the intro- duction of numerous new sections over recent years covering an ever increas- ing range of reader interests. These sections act to increase the appeal of the masthead to a broader cross-section of audience while also catering to specific communities of interest and thereby gener- ating additional advertising revenue opportunities. However, while the news- paper publishers are re- sponding to these changes in a pro-active way, audience measurement has not been keeping up. In the old days newspa- pers used to be about de- livering the news to a broad audience. The advertising sales approach reflected this and was based on the size of audience/circulation with some broad differentiation between papers based on de- mographic differences. It was about the delivery of 'big' numbers that drive key advertising categories (such as retail). This is out of step with the increasingly target- ed approach that is now used by advertisers in many other categories which reflects the shift in policy from interrup- tion to engagement around pockets of consumer inter- est. As the role of newspapers changes in this new media landscape, the need to attract advertising revenue from these new categories be- comes more important. The targeted sections should be an opportunity to drive this growth but currently there is no way to We all know part of the enjoyment of the newspa- per-reading experience is reaching for your favourite section. Equally we all know there are sections we either ignore or flip past and yet current readership measure- ment says we read all pages with equal intensity and in- terest. This is reflective of a continuation of focus on size of audience rather than qual- ity of audience. It would seem that part of the reluctance to move to providing more sec- tional readership is driven by a sense that some sections will have smaller audiences and as a result media buyers will push for lower rates to reflect this. While there is a degree of truth in this, it is also pos- sible to see situations where sections could charge a pre- mium and in effect this al- ready happens with EGN. For example, if I am a trav- el advertiser, am I better off appearing in EGN or a travel section? It could well be that the audience of the travel section is significantly more likely to purchase my service. While I may have a gut feel about this, the current lack of detailed data means I can not quantify it and in fact the ex- isting data would encourage me to advertise in EGN. This puts increased pres- sure on a limited demand area of the paper and does not represent the real value of the sectional opportunity. Newspaper readership is out of step by only delivering broad brushstrokes on total audience. At a time when the ability to micro-target in oth- er mediums improves almost by the day, the blunt instru- ment of total readership does not drive the sectional op- portunity. This is particularly relevant for the non-tradi- tional advertising categories that are being increasingly targeted by the various news- papers' sales forces. In addition, this focus on overall audience numbers has meant newspapers con- tinue to be highly competi- tive among themselves and focus heavily on their relative market share versus direct competitors. Publishers need to recognise the threat from media divergence as adver- tisers go after more targeted audiences. A focus on the broader media market and the changes happening in that market would help build overall competitiveness for newspapers. At a time when market- ing language is focussed on words like involvement, in- tegration and engagement we are still focussed on CCM rates and colour loadings. The opportunity is to move the conversation further up the planning stream and demonstrate how non-tradi- tional opportunities such as new sections can drive new revenues for newspapers. Simon Davies is Head of Publishing at OMD -- B&T and Ad News Media Agency of the Year 2005 Getting a slice of the consumer action At a time when marketing language is focussed on words like involvement, integration and engagement we are still focussed on CCM rates and colour loadings. newspapers need to update their audience research if they are to stay competitive, writes Simon Davies.