13 Feb 2010

Newspapers: An insider’s look at your community
 Newspapers’ subculture

Behind the scenes 1 Comment

PART ONE OF A FOUR-PART SERIES

Your community Newspaper’s subculture may leave you scratching your head, wondering who has your best interest at heart.The community Newspaper business is a very personal enterprise, almost family like. Although most Newspaper sales offices run a tight ship and appreciate there front line sales force, others do not in these very tough times. The hustle and bustle, one would expect from a Newspaper, has fallen eerily silent. You could hear a pin drop.

A Durham Region media company is scrambling for your hard earned advertising dollars. Whether that be introducing new online media venues, bundled offers, directory buys or further discounts when you sign a yearly contract, for multiple ads. The table is set from the top down and the leftover table scraps are fought over on the advertising sales floor. Publisher’s are scrambling for new ways to separate you from your hard earned advertising dollars. Newspapers are having to change their out dated business models forcing them, as we have seen this past year, to either adapt or go bankrupt. Its ownership – which is hesitant to re-invest profits into the newspapers is losing their voices as well, it’s tradition of writing.

There is a definite silo effect within the office. Sales reps were forced to only work on their own goals, often ignoring the needs of others, and important information that should have been past onto advertisers, got lost in the middle. Confusing new corporate initiated policies further clutter and confuse. Almost tying the hands of their sales force.

Sales Reps have to struggle until the last possible moment, scrambling for additional ad revenue so deadlines aren’t enforced. Last minute sell offs continue to undermine the bottom line and effect the publications’ cash flow. This boils down to these papers having very little in the way of operating budgets. Editor’s of special sections left unchecked manage to damage their already struggling publications, by narrowing the already established market. This then leads them to downloading content from free news wires or services that can be accessed from the web. As a result of this, local papers are little more than flyer wraps. In an age where people want results and analytics that newspapers and TV can’t quantify, there is no response to ad’s because there is no mechanism to do so. So it’s kind of like throwing your ad dollars in the blue bin. You can never guarantee a response to an ad but with the web you can at least see if some one’s looked at it.

Advertiser’s don’t realize that they’re only paying for the ad space in a publication and not the design of the ad. It is the responsibility of your sales rep to gather all necessary information for the design process. In some cases improper use of some ad material ends up in other publications with out consent which then leads to law suits. Some local newspapers are looking at ways to send their creative departments off shore to India or Pakistan to save a few more dollars.

Don’t get me wrong, community Newspapers do serve a purpose. Most do great things within the community. They employ young people as newspaper carriers, teaching them valuable life lessons but just remember that the giant Corporations, especially ones that are big enough to buy a slew of newspapers, know nothing about passion. It’s all about protecting their profit margins. That young carrier pays them to insert his or her flyers bundles every month.

And remember that sales reps have alot of terminology and a lot of facts and figures. In fact, they know their market very well. But a bunch of advertising talk about brand awareness, ad awareness, attitude and purchase intent doesn’t matter. It’s sales that matter. Make the media reps prove that they are better than the next ‘guy’.

It makes you think? Where do you want to spend your hard earned advertising dollars! Save it, spend it on something useful! Some things are worth saving, but given the choices, I think it’s the Trees. Think about starting a blog to publish your own words, join a social networking site, or create your own website. Pick the credible media that delivers to your specific target audience at the best price.

– Craig Waterfield

A Good Case For Rethinking Your Thinking…

One Response to “Newspapers: An insider’s look at your community
 Newspapers’ subculture”

  1. Chris says:

    Again, the industry operating on a 1980’s business strategy……”what’s this thing they call the internet?”

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