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Panpa Bulletin : July 2006
CONTENT SIMon DaVIeS You have probably read the media landscape is in a time of major change. Yet despite these shifting sands there are some things that continue to remain the same. One of those is the 'Dear Adver- tiser' letters we start to receive at the beginning of June and which rapidly increase in quantity in the run up to July 1. These letters roll out the same justifications each year on the impact of increased costs on your business and why they should be passed on to advertisers as an an- nual rate increase. Newspapers are somewhat unique in positioning a unilateral rate increase to clients as opera- tional cost justifications with no acknowledgment of demand or market conditions. Perhaps the time is approach- ing to start looking at it from your customers' view rather than your cost base? The changes in the media land- scape provide us with many new opportunities to target consumers across many delivery platforms. While the discussion surround- ing newspapers tends to focus around the threat/opportunity of the internet it should also in- clude the impact and growth of subscription television, the rise of other non-core traditional me- diums such as out-of-home and POS and new channels such as mobile which is only just starting to hit this market. All of these mediums are availa- ble at a time when we are moving from the old advertising model which was based on interruption to one based on engagement. It is no longer enough to put an ad on TV or in EGN and expect people to take notice. The lives of your readers have become more complicated and so the traditional approach to ad- vertising is simply not as effective as it used to be. Effective media planning and placement must demonstrate a deeper understanding of con- sumers and their lives. It must understand the roles that the various mediums play in their lives. It has to recognise that as their lifestyles become more multi-fac- eted then a broader range of me- diums is required to talk to them effectively. The annual rate increase let- ter brings the focus back on to CCM rates at a time when the conversation should be moving to one about the connection that newspapers have with their read- ers and the role they play in their lives. The conversation should be about communication values not operational cost. Telling advertis- ers tales of woe about perennial increases in paper/ink/transport costs does not do this. It also ig- nores the fact that almost every business faces increased costs but does not get to pass on that cost on an annual base as they face genuine competition. Cost pressure and product de- velopment are a reality of busi- ness survival not a punch line for a yield argument. Insulation from this competitive reality has in the past been delivered by sector sup- port in retail, auto, communica- tions and finance. These sectors enjoyed the abil- ity of print to deliver steep reach build. As focus shifts to engage- ment, advertisers are likely to seek out smaller communities of in- terest to get their message across and so the insulation factor may diminish. In simple terms no one is ex- plaining why your audience is worth three or four or five per cent more in July than it was in June. In fact people often talk about the size of your audience and the make-up of your audience but very rarely is anyone talking about the value of the newspaper and its role in someone's life. In a time when advertisers are looking for engagement rather than simply large audience de- livery this type of information be- comes increasingly relevant and indeed vital for the ongoing suc- cess of newspapers and their in- clusion on advertising schedules. Understanding the brand val- ues associated with a masthead will only become more important in the fragmenting media mar- ket where consumers have more choice on how they access infor- mation. The constant is that consumers want information they can trust. Your newspaper's brand is well suited for multi-platform deliv- ery and as we move forward we expect to see the engagement is with brands as much as delivery platforms. Therefore is does not matter if I access your newspaper in the print format, online, by mobile or whatever options may become available. The point is that I feel a connection to the brand and trust that brand. Building under- standing of that connection is the opportunity as we move for- ward and will give you a stronger platform for future 'Dear Adver- tiser' letters. Simon Davies is head of Publishing at oMD – B&t ad news Media agency of the Year 2005 The conversation should be about communication values not operational cost. Telling advertisers tales of woe about perennial increases in paper/ink/ transport costs does not do this Getting that brand recognition advertisers will want to see your newspaper has its own place in the market before they spend their cash writes Simon Davies. Therefore it does not matter if I access your newspaper in the print format, online, by mobile or whatever options may become available. Understanding the brand values associated with a masthead will only become more important in the fragmenting media market where consumers have more choice on how they access information. July 2006 PANPA BULLETIN | 25