Friday, April 06, 2007

Online Experiment for Print Magazine

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“There is no such thing as a failed experiment, only experiments with unexpected outcomes”
Richard Buckminster Fuller (US engineer and architect, 1895-1983 )

Online Experiment for Print Magazine

By STUART ELLIOTT 5adco.html?_r=1&ref=business&oref=slogin

READERS of a weekly newsmagazine will soon be getting a bonus issue, but they will miss it if they look in mailboxes or on newsstands.

The magazine, The Week, will publish the extra issue online, rather than in its regular printed format. The special issue will feature articles on the environment — hence the decision to spare trees by publishing it just on the Internet (

“Bringing our readers an extra issue in a digital format echoes the environmental issues we’re trying to highlight,” said Justin Smith, president and publisher of The Week in New York, which is part of Dennis Publishing.

The project represents the first time The Week has produced a themed issue as well as its first online- only issue. The bonus issue will also serve as a kind of Web-based sampling program for The Week, because nonsubscribers will be able to read it on the Web site.

The extra issue is scheduled to be posted on April 20 and remain online for a week. It does not replace a print issue because the magazine, which prints 48 issues a year, had originally planned not to come out that week. (A double issue, dated April 20-27, is to appear on April 13.)

The special issue is being sponsored solely by the Lexus division of Toyota Motor, as a showcase for its hybrid products. It will be Lexus’s first time to advertise with The Week, and the online ads are be followed by ads in print issues the rest of the year.

The project includes an event in Los Angeles on April 25, also sponsored by Lexus, centered on a discussion of environmental topics. The cost of the sponsorship package for Lexus is estimated at more than $500,000.

The project offers another example of efforts by the print media to expand their digital presence in response to changing habits of both readers and advertisers. Last week, Lauren Rich Fine, who follows advertising and media stocks for Merrill Lynch, raised her estimates for the worldwide growth of online ad revenue for 2007 as well as 2008.

For example, morning newspapers like The Chicago Sun-Times and The Toronto Star have started publishing online-only afternoon editions, which can also be downloaded.

And several publishers that have recently closed magazines or announced plans to close them are keeping the publications alive in online versions. Among them are the magazines Elle Girl and Premiere, from Hachette Filipacchi; Child, from Meredith; and Life and Teen People from the Time Inc. unit of Time Warner.

“We’re going to learn so much about our readers,” Mr. Smith said of the online-only issue. “We’ll take the learnings and apply them to the rest of our business.”

Mr. Smith estimated that The Week typically posted 30 percent to 35 percent of its print content on the Web site, which draws about 150,000 unique users a month.

By comparison, the circulation of the print edition is 440,000 to 445,000 copies a week. The rate base for 2007 — the circulation guaranteed to advertisers — is 425,000, increased from 400,000 last year and 300,000 in 2005.

“We’re trying to be as agnostic as possible about serving our readers in all the different media,” Mr. Smith said. “Some people will want it in print, some will want it in digital and some will want it in a mobile format.”

Executives at Lexus and its agency, Team One, part of the Publicis Groupe, have been meeting with many media companies, said Deborah Wahl Meyer, vice president for marketing at Lexus in Torrance, Calif., and “challenging them to help us use their media more effectively.”

The Week “jumped on it, by doing something in a very different way,” Ms. Meyer said. “We had not done business with them before, but we will now do a full schedule.”

The Lexus ads to appear in the online issue will promote three hybrid models: the RX 400h, a crossover sport utility; the GS 450h, a sport sedan; and the LS 600h L, a sedan that is to be introduced in the summer to compete with the most expensive sedans sold by BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

The ads will direct readers to a Web site (, Ms. Meyer said, offering “practical tips and ideas” as well as podcasts, video clips and a forum for owners of Lexus hybrids.

Marketing messages that go beyond traditional pitches like print ads and television commercials are increasingly important, she added, as Lexus pursues its potential customers, who are typically ages 35 and up with household incomes of more than $100,000 a year.

“This is a wonderful time for advertisers,” Ms. Meyer said, adding: “It feels like an explosion of creativity among our media partners. Their willingness to go to the next level has increased exponentially.”

Lexus worked last fall with several Condé Nast and Hearst magazines, Ms. Meyer said, on a promotion in four big cities that included so-called pop-up stores, which are boutiques that sold products produced by three designers.

The project is the second time in five months that The Week has made a deal with an advertiser to be the sole sponsor of an issue.

An extra 100,000 copies of the Nov. 10 issue were distributed free to commuters in metropolitan New York as part of a promotion sponsored by Philips Electronics and arranged by the Philips media agency, Carat, part of the Aegis Group. The extra copies in the promotion, with a budget estimated at $500,000 to $600,000, carried no ads; in their place was additional editorial content.

Single sponsorships, in print and on TV, are becoming popular among marketers as they seek to stand out from the commercial clutter.

Philips, for instance, has made such sponsorship agreements with media outlets like CBS, Gourmet magazine, NBC and TBS in addition to The Week.

Responses to all Articles and Bo-Rants are greatly encouraged and may be included in " BoSacks Readers Speak Out"

"Heard on the Web" Media Intelligence: Courtesy of The Precision Media Group.
Print, Publishing and Media Consultants Contact - Robert M. Sacks 518-329-7994 PO Box 53, Copake NY 12516


"Heard on the Web" Media Intelligence:
Courtesy of BoSacks and The Precision Media Group
America's Oldest e-newsletter est.1993

Revised BoWeb -
New BoBlog - http://bosacks.

“Don't waste time learning the "tricks of the trade. Instead, learn the trade.”

By Paul R. La Monica editor at large ewarner_aol/index.htm? section=money_technology

NEW YORK ( -- It is the rumor that just won't die.

After a ballyhooed merger between AOL and Time Warner six years ago that has, to put it kindly, yielded mixed results at best, people on Wall Street love to keep speculating about AOL's future within the Time Warner organization.

In the past few weeks, analysts at both UBS and Bear Stearns have suggested that Time Warner could either spin off a portion of AOL, a similar strategy to what Time Warner (Charts) has done with its cable subsidiary Time Warner Cable (Charts), or merge it with another Internet giant. (Time Warner is also the parent company of

Google (Charts), Yahoo! (Charts), Microsoft's (Charts) MSN or IAC (Charts), the Web conglomerate run by Barry Diller that owns, have been mentioned most often as likely candidates in a merger scenario. Google, in fact, bought a 5 percent stake in AOL in late 2005 for $1 billion.

Shares of Time Warner have increased nearly 6 percent since UBS issued its report on March 16. The stock's rise probably is not due entirely to AOL speculation, however, since other big media stocks such as Walt Disney (Charts), News Corp. and CBS have also rallied, along with the broader market, in recent weeks. The Bear Stearns report came out on March 26.

Executives from Time Warner were not immediately available for comment. But president and COO Jeff Bewkes dismissed talk of an AOL spinoff or sale during a presentation at a Bear Stearns media conference last month.

"We are high on AOL's prospects now," Bewkes said at the conference. "We are optimistic about what they are going to do, which does not lead us to be thinking about taking AOL anywhere."

And some technology and Wall Street analysts also wonder if now is the right time for Time Warner to be considering such a drastic move for AOL.

"The world's biggest media company should have a big presence online and they should have it through a general purpose portal that serves a mass audience. That's the role that a media conglomerate should play," said David Card, a senior analyst with Jupiter Research. "AOL is still a natural for Time Warner. The execution has gone back and forth but they are running it well right now."

To that end, the Internet unit finally seems to be capitalizing on strong online advertising trends and also overhauled its senior management team in the past few months.

Last August, AOL announced that it would no longer charge broadband subscribers fees to have AOL e- mail accounts. The move came as AOL has steadily lost subscribers to both cheaper dial-up services as well as high-speed offerings from phone companies and cable outfits, including Time Warner Cable.

In November, AOL announced that it hired former NBC Universal executive Randy Falco to replace Jonathan Miller as AOL's chairman and CEO.

So far, the changes have led to some encouraging signs for AOL and Time Warner. AOL reported a 49 percent increase in online advertising revenue, as the division has focused more on driving traffic to AOL- owned properties such as the flagship, celebrity news site and MapQuest.

"AOL is doing well now in terms of its ad revenue strategy. It made this painful transition from being a largely subscription-supported entity to an ad- supported entity, and there is a lot of momentum," said Greg Sterling, principal with Sterling Market Intelligence, a consulting and research firm focusing on online advertising.

But online advertising is still a small part of AOL's revenue stream. As such, overall sales and adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA), a key measure of profitability, at AOL slid in the fourth quarter of 2006 due to lower subscriber fees.

Thomas Eagan, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. who follows Time Warner, said that with this in mind, it's too soon to talk about whether or not AOL might be spun out or merged with another Internet or media firm.

Eagan said it makes more sense for Time Warner to see whether or not AOL's new strategy can eventually lead to sustainable gains in profits before deciding to make any major changes regarding AOL's ownership.

"It's premature to spin off AOL, since Time Warner has been indicating that early results from the shift to advertising are positive," Eagan said. "It makes sense for Time Warner to give AOL some time for the new strategy to take hold."

That said, Eagan does not rule out Time Warner doing something with AOL in 2008 or 2009. That's because he expects Bewkes to be calling all the shots by then. Bewkes is widely considered the successor to current Time Warner chairman and CEO Dick Parsons when Parsons' contract with Time Warner expires in 2008.

And Bewkes, despite his support of AOL, did not rule out a possible spinoff down the road. At last month's Bear Stearns conference, he said that if AOL's turnaround continues and the market is willing to pay a higher price for the company, it "could be reasonable to create separate currency" for AOL in order to pursue more acquisitions.

According to a report by Bear Stearns analyst Spencer Wang, AOL could be worth more than $20 billion, or about a quarter of Time Warner's total market value.

But Greg Gorbatenko, an analyst with Jackson Securities in Chicago, said he did not think that a spinoff of AOL is necessary.

He argues that a separate stock for the cable unit made sense because Time Warner can use that to make major cable acquisitions. By contrast, AOL has made several smaller acquisitions, most notably in the online video market, during the past few years without having an AOL stock to use to finance deals.

"I wouldn't say they need to spin off AOL," Gorbatenko said.

Sterling said that he thought it would not be a good idea for Time Warner to give up any control of AOL now that it finally is benefiting from strong demand for online advertising.

"The promise of the original AOL merger is finally coming clearly into view so the timing of a spinoff or sale doesn't make sense," he said. "Now there is an opportunity for Time Warner to do something interesting with AOL. It's a valuable asset you probably would want to retain."

As for a merger, Sterling said he would not be surprised if Microsoft's MSN or Yahoo! would be interested in AOL since a combination could help boost their efforts to take market share from Google in search.

"Does AOL need to merge with another entity? Microsoft or Yahoo might be hungry for that type of thing," he said.

But Card thinks that a deal with either of those two would make little sense since AOL already has a relationship with, and an investment from, Google. So why abandon a deal with the established industry leader?

"Merging AOL with MSN or Yahoo might be good for jumpstarting their search businesses but it would not do much for AOL," he said.

Responses to all Articles and Bo-Rants are greatly encouraged and may be included in " BoSacks Readers Speak Out"

"Heard on the Web" Media Intelligence: Courtesy of The Precision Media Group.
Print, Publishing and Media Consultants Contact - Robert M. Sacks 518-329-7994 PO Box 53, Copake NY 12516

Star to Slash Guaranteed Paid Circ

"Heard on the Web" Media Intelligence:
Courtesy of BoSacks and The Precision Media Group
America's Oldest e-newsletter est.1993
Click here to forward this email

Revised BoWeb -
New BoBlog - http://bosacks.
“The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves if we are underlings.” William Shakespeare (English Dramatist, Playwright and Poet, 1564-1616)

Star to Slash Guaranteed Paid Circ
150,000 Copies Chopped as Celebrity Title Continues Cutting Costs
By Nat Ives article_id=115945

NEW YORK ( -- American Media's Star magazine, which has recently switched top editors and eliminated a dozen positions from its payroll, is now preparing to chop its average guaranteed paid circulation by 10%, or 150,000 copies, to 1.35 million -- presenting a rare case of contraction at a celebrity weekly.

Star is part of the hottest category in magazines, where growth is the norm.

Postal hike
"A lot of this was precipitated by the latest postal increase, which is 11.7%," said John J. Miller, president-chief operating officer, American Media. "We are expecting as an industry another increase a year from now and that's a huge part of our subscription expense. So based on that we looked at the pricing, how much we get remitted from our agents and decided to reduce the unprofitable subscriptions."

"We've talked to all our advertisers," Mr. Miller said. "They like the transparency. They like that we're focusing on sources that are valuable to us because those are sources that are valuable to them."

Other titles have reduced paid circulation guarantees recently; the most prominent among them is Time magazine, which decided to cut its rate base by almost 20%, to 3.25 million, as part of sweeping changes intended to invigorate the book and increase efficiency.

But Star has already missed its current 1.5 million rate base on eight out of 11 issues this year, according to the most recent information available through the Audit Bureau of Circulations' Rapid Report system. It's also part of the hottest category in magazines, where growth is the norm.

Lower-priced competitors
Mr. Miller said Star sells against an average paid circulation, so 11 issues is not a good sample. And because approximately half of its sales come on the newsstand, he added, there will always be some volatility in the numbers. As for the celebrity weekly category, Mr. Miller said competitors priced at $1.99 are "impacting" the market.

American Media told its bondholders in February that it had a plan to increase revenue and reduce expenses with moves including layoffs, cover-price hikes at some titles and a "circulation adjustment" for Star.

When the company finally filed long-overdue financial restatements in March, it reported a fiscal 2006 net loss of $160.9 million. That was mainly the result of a $147.5 million impairment charge that American Media took to reduce the value on its balance sheet of some trade names -- including Star -- and the goodwill of Star and Weekly World News.

Last week American Media said it was cutting 20 positions, including 12 at Star, as part of the drive to spend less.

Original Source Link
Responses to all Articles and Bo-Rants are greatly encouraged and may be included in " BoSacks Readers Speak Out"

"Heard on the Web" Media Intelligence: Courtesy of The Precision Media Group.
Print, Publishing and Media Consultants Contact - Robert M. Sacks 518-329-7994 PO Box 53, Copake NY 12516

Thursday, April 05, 2007

BoSacks Speaks Out: Magazine launches down in Q1, '07

BoSacks Speaks Out: Imagine this . . . I agree with my good friend Dr. Husni twice in one week.

He is correct and the stats that he is documenting here in this note from his blog, does not suggest that we are near the end of the printed magazine, nor is it a permanent new trend, it is just a temporary re- adjustment in the cycles of publishing.

The shifting of publishing paradigms that I always talk about in this newsletter, do not suggest that fewer publications will make their way onto the printing press. In fact, I think that the new publishing technologies and models are helping traditional publishers and printers become more efficient and productive than ever before. I believe it will even lead to more magazines, but with much shorter press runs than in the past, and with a much more passionate audience . . . the readers of special interest titles.

But it is also the end to the Status Quo. Publishing has a way of continuing to change and morph. The successful new digital information distribution platform is proof of the fact that we are in the dawn of a new era with new rules.

Here is a digital information distribution quickie quiz that has nothing to do with the above observation.
There are somewhere around 2.9 billion searches asked on google each year. Where and to whom did we ask these questions before google?

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
Dr. Seuss (American Writer and Cartoonist best known for his collection of children's books. 1904- 1991)

Magazine launches down in Q 1, ‘07
By Samir Husni ne-launches-down-in-q-1-07/

Rocket, Sewstylish, Saphir, Urban Ink, Barbie, First Home, and Seven are but seven (no pun intended) new titles from a total of 145 new magazines introduced to the American magazine scene in the first quarter of 2007.

This is a drop of 47 titles from 2006. The first quarter of 2006 witnessed the introduction of 192 new magazines. Another major drop was the number of titles published four times or more in the first quarter of this year. Only 50 magazines were launched with the intention to be published at least four times a year compared with 72 in 2006.

There were fewer annuals, 10 compared to 20 last year and fewer specials, 77 compared to 93. For a complete list of all the titles launched in the first three months of 2007 click here. So what do those numbers mean? Not much. Since I have started tracking new magazine launches, I have witnessed a two or three years’ declines after a very healthy and busy year. In 2005 we have seen 1013 new launches, the number dropped to 901 last year, and if the trend of the previous years continues, we will see another drop again this year before the numbers bounce back.

Call it market correction if you please, but definitely it is NOT a sign that print is on its way out. History will tell us otherwise. So enjoy this quarter’s crop and look forward to more titles to come next month.

Flexible Batteries That Never Need to Be Recharged

BoSacks Speaks Out: As most of my long time readers know, I am a strong proponent of e- paper. I believe in the very near future we will all have WiFi connected flexable e-paper that will only require power to change the text or the image when you wish to change the page.

But where is that power going to come from? I have been following several companies that are working on flexable substrate batteries. The following article is just one of many possible power sources for e-paper.

“The three great essentials to achieve anything worth while are, first, hard work; second, stick-to- itiveness; third, common sense.”
Thomas Alva Edison

Flexible Batteries That Never Need to Be Recharged
By Tyler Hamilton e.aspx?id=18482

European researchers have built prototypes that combine plastic solar cells with ultrathin, flexible batteries. But don't throw away your battery recharger just yet.

Mobiles phones, remote controls, and other gadgets are generally convenient--that is, until their batteries go dead. For many consumers, having to routinely recharge or replace batteries remains the weakest link in portable electronics. To solve the problem, a group of European researchers say they've found a way to combine a thin-film organic solar cell with a new type of polymer battery, giving it the capability of recharging itself when exposed to natural or indoor light.

It's not only ultraslim, but also flexible enough to integrate with a wide range of low-wattage electronic devices, including flat but bendable objects like a smart card and, potentially, mobile phones with curves. The results of the research, part of the three- year, five-country European Polymer Solar Battery project, were recently published online in the journal Solar Energy.

"It's the first time that a device combining energy creation and storage shows [such] tremendous properties," says Gilles Dennler, a coauthor of the paper and a researcher at solar startup Konarka Technologies, based in Lowell, MA. Prior to joining Konarka, Dennler was a professor at the Linz Institute for Organic Solar Cells at Johannes Kepler University, in Austria. "The potential for this type of product is large, given [that] there is a growing demand for portable self-rechargeable power supplies."

Prototypes of the solar battery weigh as little as two grams and are less than one millimeter thick. "The device is meant to ensure that the battery is always charged with optimum voltage, independently of the light intensity seen by the solar cell," according to the paper. Dennler says that a single cell delivers about 0.6 volts. By shaping a module with strips connected in series, "one can add on voltages to fit the requirements of the device."

The organic solar cell used in the prototype is the same technology being developed by Konarka. (See "Solar-Cell Rollout.") It's based on a mix of electrically conducting polymers and fullerenes. The cells can be cut or produced in special shapes and can be printed on a roll-to-roll machine at low temperature, offering the potential of low-cost, high- volume production.

To preserve the life of the cells, which are vulnerable to photodegradation after only a few hours of air exposure, the researchers encapsulated them inside a flexible gas barrier. This extended their life for about 3,000 hours. Project coordinator Denis Fichou, head of the Laboratory of Organic Nanostructures and Semiconductors, near Paris, says that the second important achievement of the European project was the incorporation into the device of an extremely thin and highly flexible lithium-polymer battery developed by German company VARTA-Microbattery, a partner in the research consortium. VARTA's batteries can be as thin as 0.1 millimeter and recharged more than 1,000 times, and they have a relatively high energy density. Already on the market, the battery is being used in Apple's new iPod nano.

Dennler says that the maturity of the battery and the imminent commercial release of Konarka-style organic solar cells mean that the kind of solar-battery device designed in the project could be available as early as next year, although achieving higher performance would be an ongoing pursuit.

The paper's coauthor Toby Meyer, cofounder of Swiss- based Solaronix, says that the prototypes worked well enough under low-light conditions, such as indoor window light, to be considered as a power source for some mobile phones. Artificial light, on the other hand, may impose limitations. "Office light is probably too weak to generate enough power for the given solar-cell surface available on the phone," he says.

Watches, toys, RFID tags, smart cards, remote controls, and a variety of sensors are among the more likely applications, although the opportunity in the area of digital cameras, PDAs, and mobile phones will likely continue to drive research. "The feasibility of a polymer solar battery has been proven," the paper concludes.

Rights to the technology are held by Konarka, though the solar company says it has no plans itself to commercial the battery.

Five Cents for Daily Newspaper?

Five Cents for Daily Newspaper?
by Keach Hagey,hagey,76253, 15.html

After a long day of shopping at Gimbels, nothing beats an icy highball at McHale's, then heading home on the Ninth Avenue El with the newspaper you bought for a nickel.
Well, at least one of these things you can now do again. The New York Post recently began offering weekday subscriptions for the jaw-dropping price of $13 a year, or five cents a day.

"That's, like, free," marveled Post flak Jody Fisher, before respectfully declining to discuss the financial logic behind his client's offer.

Startled observers, rubbing their eyes to make sure they hadn't fallen into a tabloid time machine, were split on whether this proved the Post was crazy or evil.

"This is yet another example of a desperate company making a desperate move," said Marc Kramer, Daily News CEO and leader of the "crazy" camp. "The fundamentals of their business are interesting, because there are no fundamentals."

The Post finally overtook the News in circulation last fall—averaging 704,011 paid weekday copies to the News's 693,423—after a steady climb that began when the Post dropped its newsstand price to a quarter in 2000. (The News still trumps the Post on Sundays, 779,348 copies to 427,265.)

A few months before resigning in 2005, Post publisher Lachlan Murdoch acknowledged to BusinessWeek that halving the cover price widened the paper's annual loss, rumored to be in the tens of millions. In the same article, he said he intended to restore the paper's 50-cent cover price if and when the Post passed the Daily News in circulation, adding, "We very much care that it make money one day." But it seems pretty clear that "one day" will not come until the Post is straddling the bleeding, lifeless corpse of the undercut Daily News. (Current Post publisher Paul Carlucci did not return calls for comment.)

Thus the "evil" theory. Robert Broadwater, founder of the media mergers and acquisitions firm Broadwater & Associates, said there has long been suspicion in the industry that the Post is "willing to lose buckets of money to put the Daily News out of business."

While some see the Post's price as a throwback to Hearst and Pulitzer's 19th-century newspaper war, others see it as heralding the future of daily newspapers in the Internet-driven 21st century.

"It's a small step to giving it away," said Piet Bakker, who runs an Amsterdam-based blog,, which tracks free dailies. He compared the Post's strategy to that of several European papers, which have responded to today's hostile business climate by offering their papers free to part of their readership. "We will definitely see more models like this."

New York's own free dailies also expect
company. "There will be more people coming into this space," said Daniel Magnus, publisher of Metro New York. "The traditional newspaper model in the eyes of investors is done."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Making Sense of Newsstand Trends

“When planning for a year, plant corn. When planning for a decade, plant trees. When planning for life, train and educate people.”
Chinese Proverbs

Making Sense of Newsstand Trends
By Baird Davis prmMID=2996#

In the volatile newsstand sales world, publishers that heed the ten “rules” for success will greatly enhance their odds.

Newsstand sales of audited publications appeared to be tranquil in the second half of 2006. Unit sales of 482 million were up 1 percent, but retail revenue remained flat at slightly more than $1.6 billion. The sales performance of the 10 leading newsstand companies (unit sales down 1.7percent, sales revenue off 1.9 percent) was slightly below the industry norm. For the year, unit sales of all audited publications were down 1.7 percent and revenue off 1.6 percent.

Behind this seemingly placid scene a slow, yet dramatic, shift in product preference is transpiring.

In this article I’ll try to cut through the cloud of misunderstanding that surrounds the newsstand. I’ll describe the principle trends affecting the newsstand sales market and discuss why it’s important for all newsstand channel participants to understand the forces perpetuating these trends.

Eight Major Trends Affecting Newsstand Sales

1. Unit Sales are Steadily Falling Unit sales have been declining for years, but the descent has accelerated in the last six years. Since 2000, unit sales of audited publications have fallen 16 percent— slightly less than 3 percent per year.

2. Retail Revenue is Flat, But Trending Toward Decline Retail revenue has remained flat the last six years because cover price increases have generally kept pace with the unit sales decline. But there is recent evidence that cover price increases can no longer be counted on to compensate for lower unit sales.

3. Pricing Elasticity is Weakening It seemed like an anomaly when the average cover price of products sold on the newsstand declined in 2005. This snapped a five decades long run of continual price escalation. But in 2006 the same thing occurred. The average sales price slumped from $3.40 to $3.38. It’s very likely that the recent declining average price phenomenon signals a new era of pricing moderation.

4. Checkout Sales Continue to Grow, While Mainline Sales Decline In the last three years, unit sales of audited checkout titles grew about 1 percent and retail revenue rose 5 percent. This is tepid growth, but compared to the mainline unit sales decline of 10 percent and the retail revenue drop of 9 percent in the same period, checkout sales seem relatively robust.

5. Sales of Women-Oriented Publications Grow, Sales of Men-Oriented Titles Fall The newsstand, with the preponderance of its sales in supermarkets, has always favored women-oriented publications. It’s been estimated that women-oriented titles and gender-neutral titles, like Time and Newsweek, account for about 70 percent of newsstand sales. In the last few years, the sales tilt toward women’s titles has accelerated. This theory is confirmed by the sales growth of checkout titles (nearly all of which are women-oriented publications) and the decline of mainline sales, which is the traditional province of men’s titles.

6. Sales of Weekly Publications are Growing, Sales of Monthly Frequency Titles are Falling In the second half of 2006, nine of the top ten revenue producing publications were weekly in frequency, led by celebrity giants People and Us. Cosmopolitan was the only monthly frequency title to crack the top ten. In addition to those nine weekly publications, there are eight other major audited weekly frequency publications. Combined, the sales of these 17 weekly publications exhibited unit sales growth of 5.8 percent and a revenue increase of 4.3 percent. Their sales performance stands in rather stark contrast to all other audited publications (primarily monthly frequency) whose unit sales declined 3.6 percent and revenue fell .7 percent Note that these 17 weekly publications had a relatively low average selling price of $2.70, accounted for a weighty 51 percent of unit sales and 41 percent of retail revenue.

7. Product Preference is Shifting—It’s no secret that the sales of weekly celebrity oriented publications are growing. In the second half of 2006, the sales of the six major weekly celebrity titles (People, US, Star, In Touch, Life & Style, Ok!) along with the two audited tabloid publications (National Enquirer, Globe) displayed strong sales growth. Unit sales of 181 million were up 10.5 percent and retail revenue of $522 million was up 6.7 percent. These eight weekly publications account for 38 percent of unit sales and 32 percent of retail revenue. The sales of all other audited titles experienced a unit sales decline of 4.1 percent and a retail revenue fall of 2.8 percent. The principle product causalities of the celebrity onslaught have been the traditional monthly frequency woman’s service publications and to a lesser extent some the major men’s titles.

8. Wholesaler Efforts to Increase Efficiency and Reduce Title Proliferation are Beginning to Resonate Wholesalers were pushed to the brink of insolvency by their slow reaction to changing market conditions. But they’ve begun to fight back. They now seem serious about improving efficiency, reducing the number of titles handled and lowering business expense by strategically combining operations with other wholesalers.

Trends Portend the Future

Unit sales are falling, retail revenue is on the cusp of declining, pricing elasticity is vanishing, checkout sales are growing, mainline sales are falling, purchases of women’s titles trump male titles, weekly frequency product is increasing the choice of newsstand buyers, product preference is shifting to lighter editorial fare and wholesalers are (finally) concentrating on improving sales efficiency. What’s going on here? There are two reasons why I believe these trends will not only continue, but accelerate in the decade ahead.

The Internet The Internet is changing everything and that includes the slow-to-adapt newsstand market. The Internet is having a dynamic effect on the way people gather information and has significantly influenced the price people are willing to pay for information. The easy availability of information has reduced demand for magazines and altered the perceived value of information, which has helped diminish pricing elasticity.

It's also altering publisher’s newsstand behavior in another more subtle way. The rising influence of the Internet as a legitimate advertising alternative has reduced the advertising revenue for many publications. Publishers, less flush with advertising revenues, are suddenly finding it’s economically advantageous to reevaluate decisions to support inefficient newsstand distribution programs.

Bifurcated Distribution System

The distribution channel is becoming distinctly more bifurcated. That is to say the channel now has an easily distinguishable set of distribution suppliers. I believe the distribution supplier distinctions will continue to accentuate the affect of the sales trends we’ve described for years to come.

Fifteen years ago, wholesalers controlled about 90 percent, or more, of newsstand sales. They serviced nearly all magazine retailers in their geographic territories. For wholesalers, efficiency wasn’t as important as protecting geographic position. This system helped spawn the proliferation of product, which continues to plague the newsstand sales channel. But in the intervening years, wholesalers have slowly shifted their emphasis from providing service to all magazine retailers in their territory to servicing primarily chain retailers, irrespective of location.

Today, wholesalers concentrate most of their services on supermarkets, drugstores, discounters and terminals. Their share of the magazine distribution market has declined to about 80 percent of all newsstand sales. The other 20 percent (distributions to bookstores, convenience stores, newsstands and other specialty retailers) are, for the most part, now being serviced by so-called direct distributors.

How is this migration to a bifurcated distribution system influencing the major trends? We’ve noted that wholesalers are concentrating on providing service to supermarkets, drugstores and discounters. Those three retail channels account for the preponderance of checkout title sales. Wholesalers have increased their marketing focus on checkout titles and, in so doing, have reduced their mainline attention.

Today it’s not uncommon to see checkout titles simultaneously taking up residence on the mainline. It’s believed this is part of the “benefits” afforded publishers of checkout titles for the significant expense associated with purchasing checkout rack space. But as more checkout titles are displayed on the mainline, this means less space allocated to traditional men’s-oriented titles.

These changes have played a prominent role in raising the sales of checkout titles, which has helped the sales of women’s titles, while inadvertently slowing sales for men’s titles. It’s also contributed to lowering average pricing, because the weekly titles, which predominate at checkout, are priced considerably below monthly frequency titles.

What has evolved is a magazine newsstand system where wholesalers handle the vast majority of high selling women’s titles and direct distributors service the bulk of men’s-oriented titles. A look, for example, at the best selling publications at retailers serviced by wholesalers and those distributed to bookstores (serviced by direct distributors) reveals the stark difference in product preference. At wholesalers, the high volume women’s titles (People, Us, Star) lead the way.

Bookstores present a much different story, where titles such as The Economist, head the list of highest revenue producers.

Ten Rules for Winning at the Newsstand

The current newsstand market trends portend greater sales difficulties ahead for most publishers. What can publishers do to mitigate those difficulties? To start with, develop a realistic understanding of current market conditions; then adhere to the following ten rules:

1. Don’t Fight City Hall Accept the inevitability of the newsstand market trends. Understand their effect and make them work for you.

2. Channel Your Success Concentrate newsstand marketing efforts on those retail channels that offer the best chance for success. Avoid wasting marketing time on retail channels that have historically not produced efficient results.
3. Improve Top Management’s Newsstand IQ Involve top management in the details of the newsstand process. This not only helps eliminate second- guessing after the fact, but is typically an important ingredient in achieving newsstand success.

4. Data Rules There is a wealth of available newsstand sales data. But making sense of it requires real skill. Many publishers underestimate both the difficulty and the significance of properly interpreting newsstand sales data. The results of achieving data understanding are worth the effort.

5. The (Higher) Price is Not Right Price elasticity is waning. Publishers should judiciously consider all prospective cover price increases and resist the temptation of raising the cover price for potential short term profit gains. Being a category leader in efficiency and units sold should be a publisher’s prime objective.

6. Be an Efficiency Expert Wholesalers, direct distributors and retailers are focusing their operational efforts, as never before, on improving efficiency. Efficiency, a nearly forgotten concept, will become the new performance standard. Publishers should anticipate this shift in emphasis and act accordingly.

7. Casual Relationships with Your ND Can Be Dangerous Most national distributors are over committed relative to the services they can provide their clients. They are also frequently restrained because of their conflicting responsibility of working with wholesalers/ direct distributors and the precarious task of collecting receivables from them. Wise publishers recognize the need to work closely with their NDs, while reserving the option to carefully (and fairly) evaluate their performance.

8. Higher Circ Levels are Not Cool Nothing has hurt newsstand sales more than the publishing industry’s reckless expansion of circ levels, which have often been accompanied by the use of marginal subscription sources. Prospective circ level increases should be based, at least partially, on maintaining strong newsstand to subscription ratios. Newsstand sales category leaders usually have the most favorable newsstand to subscription ratios.

9. Cover Your Fanny In the cover development process there is no substitute for creative retail- oriented editors/art directors. However, the process is too important to be left solely to them. In order to maximize newsstand sales, strong circulation involvement in the cover development process is necessary.

10. Edit is King Edit quality is the chief determinate of newsstand sales success or failure. Management should be prepared to evaluate and financially reward editors based on newsstand sales performance.

In the volatile newsstand sales world, publishers that heed these ten “rules” will greatly enhance their odds for success.

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Responses to all Articles and Bo-Rants are greatly encouraged and may be included in " BoSacks Readers Speak Out"

"Heard on the Web" Media Intelligence: Courtesy of The Precision Media Group.
Print, Publishing and Media Consultants Contact - Robert M. Sacks 518-329-7994 PO Box 53, Copake NY 12516

ABM Digital Velocity Panel to Future Journalists: No Web Skills, No Job

ABM Digital Velocity Panel to Future Journalists: No Web Skills, No Job
By Marrecca Fiore prmMID=7544

Consultant and publishing industry blogger, Paul Conley spends one month a year working with students embarking, or at least trying to embark, on their own journalism careers.

Conley, speaking last week at American Business Media’s Digital Velocity conference, said his third job has made him come to realize that many future journalists are still Web-challenged. These future employees are walking around with hard copies of their clips (as opposed to having them in an electronic format) and believe that they are going carve out successful print-only careers.

But even more disturbing, said Conley, is the willingness of employers to take those hard-copy clips. “We need to stop looking for people who were like us when we were first looking for jobs,” said Conley, speaking during a panel titled “Empowering Your Workforce for the New Digital Landscape. “We need to look for a very different type of entry-level person. Someone who understand the software culture in which we’re working.”

Conley said employers should be looking to hire people who are willing and eager to learn new skills, as well as people who already have strong computer- related backgrounds with image-scanning, video, blogging, podcasting and even Web-related entrepreneurial skills.

Conley said he was very impressed with a college student he met that had started a blog to let other students know about campus news and events. What impressed Conley was not the blog, but the fact that the student knew enough to sign the blog up for Google AdSense and was earning $40 a year from the program. "It's not the $40," Conley said. "It's the fact that he's ambitious and entrepreneurial and learned to do this on his own."

Jason Brightman, Web director of Harris Publications, publisher of 70 titles including hip hop magazine XXL, said publishers must first be willing to undergo a cultural shift before transforming old media companies into new media companies. “When we transitioned our 70 titles from magazines to the Web, we had to get our employees to realize that we were still a publishing company," he said. "It’s just that we were thinking about publishing in a different way.”

Still, Harris initially had two problems, said Brightman. One, it needed to find new talent with Web expertise. And two, it needed to train its existing employees to publish on the Web. “We all know that online publishing is different than publishing in print,” he said. “It does require different writing skills. For XXL, there were already a lot of established hip hop blogs out there so we invited them to blog on our site. We got their content and their built-in audience. And they got to associate their blogs with our brand. And we were big enough that, at first, (the bloggers) would do it for free.”

For its existing employees, Harris appealed to their egos by telling them that Web journalism would expand their reach and expand the number of times their bylines would appear on search engines like Google. “We also needed to get them to look at it not as though we were replacing their jobs and the magazines, but that we were expanding our products to improve the brand,” he added.

Original Source Link

Responses to all Articles and Bo-Rants are greatly encouraged and may be included in " BoSacks Readers Speak Out"

"Heard on the Web" Media Intelligence: Courtesy of The Precision Media Group.
Print, Publishing and Media Consultants Contact - Robert M. Sacks 518-329-7994 PO Box 53, Copake NY 12516

Before Jon Stewart

“We have it. The smoking gun. The evidence. The potential weapon of mass destruction we have been looking for as our pretext of invading Iraq. There's just one problem - it's in North Korea.”
Jon Stewart

Before Jon Stewart
The truth about fake news. Believe it.
By Robert Love

Just before his famous confrontation with Tucker Carlson on CNN ’s Crossfire two years ago, Jon Stewart was introduced as “the most trusted name in fake news.” No argument there. Stewart, as everyone knows, is the host of The Daily Show, a satirical news program that has been running since 1996 and has spun off the equally funny and successful Colbert Report. Together these shows are broadcast (back to back) more than twenty-three times a week, “from Comedy Central’s World News Headquarters in New York,” thus transforming a modest side-street studio on Manhattan’s West Side into the undisputed locus of fake news.

The trope itself sounds so modern, so hip, so Gawkerish when attached to the likes of Stewart or Stephen Colbert, or dropped from the lips of the ex- Saturday Night Live “Weekend Update” anchor Tina Fey, who declared as she departed SNL, “I’m out of the fake news business.” For the rest of us, we’re knee deep in the fake stuff and sinking fast. It comes at us from every quarter of the media—old and new— not just as satire but disguised as the real thing, secretly paid for by folks who want to remain in the shadows. And though much of it is clever, it’s not all funny.

Fake news arrives on doorsteps around the world every day, paid for by You, Time magazine Person of the Year, a.k.a. Joe and Jane Citizen, in one way or another. Take for instance, the U.S. government’s 2005 initiative to plant “positive news” in Iraqi newspapers, part of a $300 million U.S. effort to sway public opinion about the war. And remember Armstrong Williams, the conservative columnist who was hired on the down low to act as a $240,000 sock puppet for the president’s No Child Left Behind program? Williams’s readers had no idea he was a paid propagandist until the Justice Department started looking into allegations of fraud in his billing practices.

Fake news has had its lush innings. The Bush administration has worked hand-in-glove with big business to make sure of it. Together, they’ve credentialed fringe scientists and fake experts and sent them in to muddy scientific debates on global warming, stem cell research, evolution, and other matters. And as if that weren’t enough, the Department of Health and Human Services got caught producing a series of deceptive video news releases— VNRs in p.r.-industry parlance—touting the administration’s Medicare plan. The segments, paid political announcements really, ended with a fake journalist signing off like a real one—“In Washington, I’m Karen Ryan reporting,” and they ran on local news shows all over the country without disclosure. All of this fakery taken together, it may be fair to say that the nation’s capital has been giving Comedy Central a run for its money as the real home of fake news.

But let’s dispense with the satire, whose intentions are as plain as Colbert’s arched eyebrow. And let’s step around the notion of fake news as wrong news: The 1948 presidential election blunder DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN, for instance, or even the New York Post’s howler from the 2004 campaign, DEM PICKS GEPHARDT AS VP CANDIDATE. Those are honest mistakes, set loose by overweening editors perhaps, but never with the intention to deceive. That wasn’t always the case, as we shall see. In the early days of American journalism, newspapers trafficked in intentional, entertaining hoaxes, a somewhat puzzling period in our history. In modern times, hoaxes have migrated from the mainstream papers to the tabloid outriders like the old National Enquirer, the new Globe, and the hoaxiest of them all, The Weekly World News, purveyor of the “Bat Boy” cover stories.

The mainstream press covers itself with the mantle of authority now. Six of ten Americans polled in 2005 trusted “the media” to report the news “fully, fairly and accurately,” a slight decline from the high-water mark of seven-in-ten during the Woodward-and-Bernstein seventies. What’s more, in a veracity dogfight between the press and the government, Americans say they trust the media by a margin of nearly two to one.

But here’s a question: Can we continue to trust ourselves? Are we prepared for the global, 24-7 fake news cage match that will dominate journalism in the twenty-first century? Let’s call it Factual Fantasy: Attack of the Ax-Grinding Insiders. The boundaries have vanished, the gloves are off, our opponents are legion and fueled with espresso. Both CNN and The New York Times were used by the U.S. military as unwitting co-conspirators in spreading false information, a tactic known as psychological operations, part of an effort to convince Americans the invasion of Iraq was a necessary piece of the war on terror.

But let’s not leave out the technology. Leaks may be the time-tested tactic for manipulating the press, but the new digital toolbox has given third-party players— government, industry, politicians, you name ’em— sleeker weapons and greater power to turn the authority of the press to their own ends: to disseminate propaganda, disinformation, advertising, politically strategic misinformation—to in effect use the media to distort reality. Besides a vast and sophisticated degree of diligence, the rising generation of journalists would be wise to observe two rules for working in this new environment: Beware of profiteers and hyper-patriots, and check out a little history—lest it repeat itself.

Fake news has been with us for a long time. Documented cases predate the modern media, reaching as far into the past as a bogus eighth century edict said to be the pope-friendly words of the Roman emperor Constantine. There are plenty of reports of forgeries and trickeries in British newspapers in the eighteenth century. But the actual term “fake news”— two delicious little darts of malice (and a headline- ready sneer if ever there was one)—seems to have arisen in late nineteenth century America, when a rush of emerging technologies intersected with newsgathering practices during a boom time for newspapers.

The impact of new technology is hard to overestimate. The telegraph was followed by trans-Atlantic and transcontinental cables, linotype, high-speed electric presses and halftone photo printing—wireless gave way to the telephone. The nation, doubled in population and literacy from Civil War days, demanded a constant supply of fresh news, so the media grew additional limbs as fast as it could. Newly minted news bureaus and press associations recruited boy and girl reporters from classified ads— “Reporting And Journalism Taught Free Of Charge”— and sent their cubs off to dig up hot stories, truth be damned, to sell to the dailies.

By the turn of the century, the preponderance of fakery was reaching disturbing proportions, according to the critic and journalist J.B. Montgomery-M’Govern. “Fake journalism,” he wrote in Arena, an influential monthly of the period, “is resorted to chiefly by news bureaus, press associations and organizations of that sort, which supply nearly all the metropolitan Sunday papers and many of the dailies with their most sensational ‘stories.’”

Montgomery-M’Govern delivers a taxonomy of fakers’ techniques, including the use of the “stand-for,” in which a reputable person agrees to an outrageous lie for the attendant free publicity; the “combine,” in which a group of reporters concoct and then verify a false story; the “fake libel” plant, in which editors are duped by conspirators into running false and litigious articles; the “alleged cable news” story, in which so- called “foreign reports,” dashed off in the newsroom or a downtown press association, are topped with a foreign dateline and published as truth. The editors of huge Sunday editions, with their big appetites for the juiciest stuff (what M-M calls “Sunday stories”) naturally set the bar lower for veracity than they did for hot-blooded emotional impact.

Have I mentioned that news was suddenly big money? By the century’s turn, the tallest buildings in New York and San Francisco were both owned by newspapers. And the business became so hypercompetitive that some reporters not only made things up but stole those fake scoops and “specials” from one another with impunity. The Chicago Associated-Press fell into a trap set by a suspicious client, who set loose a rumor at two in the morning that President Grover Cleveland had been assassinated! True to its reputation, Chicago AP ran with it—no fact-checking here—and put it up on the wires. The assassination story ran in newspapers all over the country the next day, amid much chuckling and finger pointing.

The further away the newsworthy event, the more likely it was to involve fakery. bogus foreign news ran the headline in The Washington Post of February 22, 1903, but the subheads that followed it are so illustrative as to deserve full reproduction below.


It was a global problem. Even twenty true words cabled from London about an Indian Ocean hurricane could grow to a story ten times that length, padded out with imaginary details and encyclopedia facts. Mo’ words, mo’ money.

The loudest whoops at the fake news fiesta were shouted at William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal. Hearst, the legendary publisher and proud leading light of the “yellow press,” propounded two combustible ideas at the height of his influence in the late 1890s. First, he believed in the “journalism of action,” an activist press solving crimes, supporting charities, investigating corruption—taking charge in the arenas of national and international affairs. Second, he held unvarnished truth to be a somewhat negotiable commodity, especially when its subversion could lead to profit or power.

By 1897, the stage was set for a little international combustion. Cuba, ruled as a Spanish colony since 1511, had grown an insurgency, which was put down with terrific cruelty by its European overlords. In the U.S. there was a growing sentiment for a free and independent Cuba, along with the feeling that we should be mobilized for war to help out. Teddy Roosevelt, Joseph Pulitzer, and Hearst, among many others, felt that aggression was the proper response, but President McKinley was slow to act. And so began the first privately funded propaganda push to war in modern media history.

It kicked off in earnest on February 15, 1898, when the warship USS Maine, docked in Havana Harbor, exploded, killing 266 crewmen. Hearst first placed an ad offering $50,000 REWARD! FOR THE DETECTION OF THE PERPETRATOR OF THE MAINE OUTRAGE! He then threw all of his paper’s resources at covering the explosion and its investigation, sending boatloads of reporters and illustrators to Cuba and Key West. Hearst’s Journal—along with Pulitzer’s World—not only produced the bulk of the news coming out of Cuba, but within days began spinning it to blame Spain for the explosion.

Competing papers cried foul! “Nothing so disgraceful as the behavior of these two newspapers has ever been known in the history of journalism,” wrote E.L. Godkin in the New York Evening Post. He alleged “gross misrepresentation of the facts, deliberate intervention of tales calculated to excite the public and wanton recklessness in construction of headlines.”

Nevertheless it was headlines that propelled the United States to war with Spain, headlines that swayed the populace with somewhat dubious evidence. War was declared and in two weeks it was over; we had freed Cuba, gained three new territories, and ended Spain’s influence in the Western Hemisphere.

Okay, headlines can lie, but can you better determine the truth in a photo or the voice of a trusted colleague? With the advent of faster and easier halftone reproduction in the 1920s came the photo-driven tabloid newspapers like the New York Illustrated Daily News. In 1924 the most tabloidy of all tabloids arrived, the New York Evening Graphic (nicknamed the Porno- graphic), which launched the gossip careers of Ed Sullivan and Walter Winchell and the vaunted Composograph photo. The Composograph was actually a technique that combined real and staged pictures to depict events where no cameras had ventured. The Graphic’s editors had a blast with the pop star Rudolph Valentino, documenting the singer’s unsuccessful surgery, funeral, and his meeting in heaven with the departed Enrico Caruso—the headline: RUDY MEETS CARUSO! TENOR'S SPIRIT SPEAKS!

Telephones meant faster, more accurate newsgathering at a time when speed was prized and “extra” editions meant extra profits. The telephone necessitated the creation of two-man urban reporting teams—leg men and rewrite men—which irritated H.L. Mencken to no end. Journalism, he wrote in 1927, is in a low state, mainly due to the decay of the old- time reporter, the heart and soul of the American newspapers of the last generation. The current rush to get upon the streets with hot news, even at the cost of printing only half of it, has pretty well destroyed all his old qualities. He no longer writes what he has seen and heard; he telephones it to a remote and impersonal rewrite man....But it must be manifest that, hanging on his telephone, maybe miles away from the event he is describing, he is completely unable to get into his description any of the vividness of a thing actually seen. He does the best he can, but that best is to the reporting of a fairer era as a mummy is to a man.

Of course Mencken’s selective memory harks back to the glory days of yellow journalism, when the worst (or best) fakery in history took place, but never mind that. He seems to have completely forgotten his own role ten years earlier in a great classic newspaper hoax, "A Neglected Anniversary," a fake history of the bathtub, which ran in the New York Evening Mail on December 28, 1917.

“Not a plumber fired a salute or hung out a flag,” Mencken lamented. “Not a governor proclaimed a day of prayer. Not a newspaper called attention to the day,” the purported seventy-fifth birthday of the bathtub. Mencken’s piece provided a vivid and full history of the introduction of the tub to American life. It singled out for praise Millard Fillmore for his role in bringing one of the first tubs to the White House, giving it “recognition and respectability in the United States.”

"A Neglected Anniversary" was so finely rendered that it literally sprang back to life—like a reanimated mummy—and found its way into print dozens of times, criticized, analyzed, and repeated as a real chapter in American history.

Hoaxes like this seem so Colbert now, like mutant cousins to his notion of “truthiness.” But hoaxers are historically not comedians; they are, like Mencken, journalists who write entertaining stuff that sounds vaguely true, even though it’s not, for editors who are usually in on the joke. The hoaxing instinct infected newsrooms throughout the early days of modern newspapers to a degree that most of us find puzzling today. Newspapers contained hundreds, if not thousands of hoaxes in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, most of them undocumented fakes in obscure Western weeklies. The subjects were oddball pets and wild weather, giants, mermaids, men on the moon, petrified people (quite a few of those), and (my favorite) the Swiss Navy. As a novice editor at the Virginia City, Nevada, Territorial Enterprise, a young Mark Twain put his talent to the test with a hoax of hoaxes. “I chose to kill the petrification mania with a delicate, a very delicate satire,” he wrote. He called it "A Petrified Man."

Who knew? The twinning of news and entertainment that plagues us today grew not from some corporate greedhead instinct of the go-go eighties, but from our own weird history. The reasons for hoaxing were mostly mercenary: for the publisher, it was to fill column inches and bring in eyeballs. For the journalist, it was sport, a freelance fee or a ploy to keep his job. Strange to say, readers didn’t seem to mind too much.

The first major fake news event of the modern media age was the Great Moon Hoax of 1835. A series of articles began appearing in the New York Sun on August 25, the late-summer brainchild of its ambitious publisher, Benjamin Day. Day wanted to move papers, like every publisher, and came up with a novel method. He began publishing a series of articles, allegedly reprinted from a nonexistent scientific journal, about Sir John Herschel, an eminent British astronomer on his way to the Cape of Good Hope to test a powerful new telescope.

What Herschel saw on the moon was . . . Life! Not just flora and fauna but living men—hairy, yellow-faced guys, four feet tall with enormous wings that “possessed great expansion and were similar in structure of those of the bat.” It was all too much, but New Yorkers had to see for themselves and the Sun’s circ hit a new high of 15,000. Even after its men-in-the- moon story was revealed to be a hoax, the paper retained its popularity with readers.

Edgar Allan Poe, famous but destitute in 1844, wrote another well-known hoax for the Sun. THE ATLANTIC CROSSED IN THREE DAYS! Poe’s story began, and it went on to describe a lighter-than-air balloon trip that wouldn’t actually take place for another sixty years. Thirty years later, at the behest of its publisher, James Gordon Bennett Jr., the New York Herald ran what’s often been called the Central Park Zoo Hoax. ESCAPED ANIMALS ROAM STREETS OF MANHATTAN the headline warned. The article maintained that twenty-seven people were dead and 200 injured in terrible scenes of mutilation. State militiamen were called in to control the situation, and sensible New Yorkers barricaded themselves in their homes.

In 1910, The Washington Post waxed nostalgic over the old men-on-the moon hoax, with a short item under a no-nonsense headline: THIS WAS A FAMOUS HOAX. In fact, that kind of warm retrospective began to appear as an occasional column or feature, illustrating a growing trend among newspapers to look back with a smile on the bad old days of great hoaxes. In the intervening years, the newspaper business had grown up into the Fourth Estate; hoaxes, for better or worse, were a part of its wild-child adolescence. By 1937, it was pretty much over, at least according to Marvin H. Creager, the president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors who addressed the group’s fifteenth annual convention. “The day of the fake and the hoax...seems to have passed,” he said, “and with it the reporters and editors who delighted in perpetrating them.”

Creager, speaking to his confident colleagues at a time of rising circulation, added, “The reporter with a box of tricks is out of place in the newspaper world today.”

Times change and so do the tricksters. The newspaper, the first mass-marketed medium to enter American living rooms, was a jack of all trades, a witty parlor guest with a deck of cards. Over time, mass distribution of movies, radio, TV, and the Internet arrived to entertain Americans and eventually to eat the lunch of the great newspaper dynasties. From the days of the Yellow Press onward, publishers began to see themselves as public servants and guardians of truth; editors learned the wisdom of marking off news columns from opinion pages and imparting a higher level of veracity even to soft features. Hoaxes? The Fourth Estate has no use for hoaxers, even of the pathetic dysfunctional variety; our tribal councils cast out fabulists like Jayson Blair or Stephen Glass with great harrumphing fanfare.

Today, people expect the news media to give them relevant, accurate information. Serious journalists have for decades thought of themselves as the descendants of muckrakers, reformers, and watchdogs.

But hold the applause for a moment. This presumption of good faith makes us the perfect marks for the new agenda-based fakers. Just last year, the Center for Media and Democracy identified sixty-nine news stations that ran clearly marked government- or industry-produced VNRs as unbiased news during a ten-month period. Many station managers, it was reported, even disguised those advertisements to look like their reporters’ own work and offered no public disclosure.

Doctored pictures from war zones? The Los Angeles Times ran one in 2003, and Reuters ran one last year. Grassroots organizations with Orwellian names like Project Protect, funded not by conservation-minded voters, but the timber industry? The investigative reporter Paul Thacker brought that one to light, along the way revealing that a Fox News science reporter named Steven Milloy had undisclosed ties to the oil and tobacco industries. Milloy discredited reports of the danger of secondhand smoke as “junk science” on, never letting on he was on the payroll of Phillip Morris.

Welcome to journalism’s latest transitional phase, where another rush of technology is changing the business in ways not imaginable ten years ago. Picture, cell, and satellite phones, wireless Internet, cheap digital cameras, Photoshop, and blogger software make it easier to deliver the news and also easier to fake it. If you’re the kind of person who thinks there ought to be a law, there is one, at least for the conduct of our elected officials. Federal statutes prohibit the use of funding for “publicity or propaganda purposes” not authorized by Congress. The ban seems to have been observed as closely as speeding laws in recent years. For the rest of us, however, it’s what they call a self-policing situation.

Late last year, Armstrong Williams, the conservative commentator who took undisclosed payments to promote President Bush’s education agenda, settled his case with the Justice Department. The feds had pursued him not for propaganda violations, though they might have, but under the False Claims Act, for false or fraudulent billing. A weary Armstrong agreed to repay $34,000 to the government and said he was happy to be done with it. He admits no wrongdoing and has committed no crime.

In the exposure, however, he lost his syndicated column and suffered an eighteen-month investigation. The notoriety of his case jump-started a government- wide inquiry into the use of fake news as propaganda, which may actually have done some good. According to USA Today, “the Government Accountability Office, Congress’s nonpartisan watchdog, in 2005 found that the deal violated a ban on ‘covert propaganda.’”

But make no mistake; it’s a small, isolated victory. In a time of falling circulation, diminishing news budgets, and dismantled staffs, the fakers are out there, waiting for their opportunities to exploit the authority that modern journalism conveys. Some of us, I fear, aren’t doing all we can to help readers and viewers know the difference between the fake and the honest take. In early January, The Huffington Post reported that The Washington Post’s Web site was talking to Comedy Central about enlisting The Daily Show staff to cover the 2008 presidential campaign. Jon Stewart, the elder statesman of fake news, working for The Washington Post? There was no confirmation of a deal at press time.

So, here’s my totally mock serious signoff: If General Pervez Musharraf, the president of Pakistan, who has already appeared once on The Daily Show, returned to announce that he had captured Osama bin Laden, would that be fake news? And what would we call it when it ran in The Washington Post?

Just asking.

Robert Love is an adjunct professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and the executive editor of Best Life.

Original Source Link

Responses to all Articles and Bo-Rants are greatly encouraged and may be included in " BoSacks Readers Speak Out"

"Heard on the Web" Media Intelligence: Courtesy of The Precision Media Group.
Print, Publishing and Media Consultants Contact - Robert M. Sacks 518-329-7994 PO Box 53, Copake NY 12516

The Magazine Split Cover Explosion

BoSacks Speaks Out: As much as I love to debate with my good friend Samir, here in this article we are almost in complete agreement. If anything, I think that Samir is not harsh enough with his criticism. But perhaps that's just me?

I have a vent on a very similar subject, but this is Samir's day and I will wait for another opportunity.

And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With old odd ends, stol'n forth of holy writ;
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.
William Shakespeare

The Split Cover Explosion

By Samir Husni views/December10.html

Covers used to be pieces of art. The Saturday Evening Post featured a different Rockwell picture of Americana each issue, while Vogue would have a portrait of a well-dressed woman on its covers. Other magazines like Reader's Digest would use its cover space as a table of contents, listing every article or feature within its pages. This is no longer the case.

Today covers are designed for a first time audience. With over 7,150 consumer magazines alive in the United States, a cover can no longer be anything but an attention-grabbing facet of a publication. Covers must scream from the newsstand with large, engaging pictures and interesting cover lines or what I like to call sell lines. The cover is very much like the front windows of a store. As shoppers walk by, the displays should catch their eyes and make them want to come inside and shop. No intelligent shop owner would simply place a handwritten list of everything he sells in his store up in the front window. The same is true for magazines. We must catch the passersby and convince them that they will be missing out if they do not buy our publication.

One way the industry has latched onto recently to catch the buyer’s eye has been the split cover. A few years ago the split cover was reserved for anniversary or special editions and were collectible. Now it seems that every magazine has at least one additional cover each issue. I see merit in some, but for the most part, these split covers raise more questions in my mind than they answer. Three main questions have come up as I have seen the barrage of split covers on the newsstands the last few months:

First, where is the wisdom in a split cover? A split cover can be a very useful selling point for a magazine, but just because we have the technology to make a split cover happen every issue for every magazine does that necessarily mean we should? Second, do we carefully consider the impact of split covers have on sales and the relationship of the magazine with its readers? As I just mentioned, split covers used to be collectibles that came around on important occasions, but what reason does a reader have for buying two different covers if only a few lines are different? Also, how do we indelibly bind readers to our product that is not even consistent in look from one newsstand to the other? If we are marketing our magazines as a product or brand that should be distinguished in less than the 2.5-second attention span our average audience member has, how does a split cover affect that perception of brand? A friend of mine was so disappointed that her magazine cover, as a loyal subscriber, was uglier than the one on the newsstands. She wondered whether the industry will continue to penalize their loyal followers and continue to cater for the marginal readers, in the same way they do with subscription prices.

And third, do readers really care about these split covers? I’m sure that very few people that aren’t obsessed with magazines like I am actually go out and buy all the split covers they can find. And will the placement of one cover line really increase newsstand sales enough to warrant the extra work put into producing a second cover?

We are a business that sells content to customers. The box that Godiva chocolates come in is just as important as the chocolate inside, but only in telling customers what quality product they are investing their money in. The same is true with our magazines. We must always remain focused on what we have within our pages and make it a quality product. This is not to say that split covers aren’t useful and great things that should be used; however, we should always question why we do what we do and how it affects the content we wish to sell to our readers. And, by the way, selling Whitman’s chocolate inside a Godvia box will not do the trick either! Happy reading and looking at some of the split covers gracing our newsstands these days.

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Life, Time, Mags and Content

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Life, Time, Mags and Content

Re: Life is Dead: The Memo AOL Time Warner (I remember when the company was referred to as "Time-Life") continues to come to the party late, and unprepared. Do they really expect us to be excited that "LIFE is continuing with plans to put its entire collection of 10 million images online..." Unless memory fails me, I thought that project was the innovation of the 1990's, and was completed years ago. Can it be they're only "continuing with plans" at this late stage? What a story! EXTRA! News Flash! LIFE magazine planning on putting still B&W photographs on line! In the world of Google and YouTube Video on line, I can't imagine anything quite so irrelevant. Also, hasn't another company (Corbis?) already finished that project? Why does every announcement from AOL Time Warner seem to end up on the wrong end of the common sense yardstick? My prediction: Time's Wednesday closing schedule has torpedoed THAT business, too. Ann Moore and her management team should fold their tents and go home.
(Submitted by a Senior Director of Mfg and Dst)

Re: Life is Dead: The Memo
funny that she thought the newspaper market had huge upside potential in 2004.
(Submitted by an Industry Consultant)

Re: Life is Dead: The Memo
Bob: This is the Deja'Vu version of Life's expiration. In 1972, I was the printer's Job Operator (they call 'em CSR's now) assigned to LIFE's eastern editions at a Connecticut. printing plant. Ann Moore's announcement is as sad today as it was nearly 35 years ago. Some years later, a good friend was TIME INC's Operator for the Rotogravure editions of LIFE, and it subsequently closed. Then, there were Sunday Supplement versions of LIFE, but I wasn't tracking it as carefully any more.

To me, LIFE was always a class act. They revered quality, timeliness, and accuracy, and went to great lengths to achieve those goals. The organization, and some of it's staff set standards of integrity and performance for the rest of my career in this business.
(Submitted by a Retired CSR)

Re: Life is Dead: The Memo
Re-launching LIFE as a newspaper supplement was like bringing back Plymouth and packaging it inside a Packard.
(Submitted by an Unknown)

Re: Life is Dead: The Memo
Too bad, really too bad, an end of an era, but with 10,000 images online, there is Life after death.
(Submitted by an unknown)

RE: Reading
Bob, OMG! You cited, recently, a generation void of reading novels, poetry, etc., and now we have the same generation – supposedly literate – discounting the value of the fourth estate. Solid journalism has toppled dictatorships and totalitarian regimes, and kept absolute power from being absolute.
Governments go to great lengths to squash freedom of expression, and newspapers have always been at the forefront of this effort. The cost of ignorance – if we aren’t willing to pay for news – is far steeper than the cost of good journalism. Bloggers have no responsibility for accuracy or balance. Moran (are you sure of the spelling on this one?) is clueless, and need a journalism 101 class.
(Submitted by a Printer and Publisher)

RE: Time Makeover Gambles on New Print-Web Focus
"General Motors, which has cut back on spending in newsweeklies in recent watching to see what the new look will have on Time's circulation, if any" Two old companies, well past their prime and living in the equivalent of a publishing assisted living facility, are thinking about having a date. GM should concentrate on figuring out how to build cars that people actual want to buy, and forget about studying Time's circulation.
(Submitted by a Production Director)

Re: Despite Online Competition, Magazines Still a Good Investment
When Readers Digest took over Reiman Publishing, one of the first things they did was drop the quality and weight of the paper. Just can't figure out why their subscribers started dropping. One thing you cannot afford to do with a 64 page plus cover magazine is to do what they did.
(Submitted by a Paper Person)

Re: Many Americans see little point to Web:
W.W. Grainger learned this lesson in the late 90's when they were sold by some chipheads that they could discontinue their catalog in lieu of going to the web. Found out in short order that 33% of their most profitable customers did not own a computer. Whoops. Nothing has changed.
(Submitted by a Paper Person)

RE: Is Content No Longer Worth Paying For?
I agree. A global study of Internet users by USC's Annenberg School for Communication showed recently that online users are finally willing to pay for digital content. If newspapers and magazines can continue to churn out relevant, timely and engaging content, some of them will be able to charge for it. Those that won't will have to rely on huge traffic -- and the subsequent ad revenue -- to foot the bill.
Submitted by an Editor)

RE: Despite Online Competition, Magazines Still a Good Investment
Once again: REALLY easy formula . . . give the reader a product that he/she wants, and the rest happens.
(Submitted by a Publisher)

RE: Google Tests an Ad Idea: Pay Only for Results
Bob: Talk about paradigm busting! This will leave the ad agency traditionalists shaking in their boots. Just imagine the opportunities! We don't need an ad sales force anymore. The artists, designers, and other creative people can modify, customize, and update the ad content instantaneously, and work from home, too! Ads can be "real time", and changed with a mouse click. Since we can directly target actual prospects with customized messages, selective binding will go the way of the buggie whip. Theres no need for marketing surveys, since we'll have a data base with actual names and addresses of customers who bought the product. And email possibilities! I recently switched to Gmail (AOL is SOOOO 20th Century!)

My Gmail's now have unintrusive ads that are driven by content of the email I've sent, rather than hideous exploding engines from that Ford Truck ad which ran for a (mercifully) short time on AOL last week. The list goes on forever. Now, how can we get Google to run the whole country?
(Submitted by a Senior Production Director)

Re; Celebrity Mags
Bob: There were several responses that made me vibrate, but the clearest one was #4, from the Paper Guy. I also believe there is a linkage between Folks' affinity for this drivel and the rates at which people read any more. Distractions abound, as always, but It is up to any of us to keep some focus, otherwise there's not much time to read any good stuff. Then, there are priorities; just what is good stuff? Is it the current issues of OK!, People, and US? TIME's redesign was telling, with more pictures and fewer words. About 3-4 months ago, a reader wrote to Car and Driver with a similar request, which was printed, with concurrence. That was my last subscribed issue of C/D. Keep up your outstanding work.
(Submitted by a CSR)

RE: BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Celebrity Titles
Bob: There are some interesting responses here. I am seldom amazed at the breadth of opinions held by your readers, especially those that “speak out” in response to the articles you share with us. One claim below – “less than 70% of 9th graders graduate from high school” – strikes me as totally alarmist and 100% distortion of fact. In my experience, it simply does not ring true. Another comment puts blame for the decline in reading on the government run education system.

When are parents going to step up and accept the fact that their children’s education is their responsibility? I’ve raised two kids, both are bright, both read, both have found a reasonable balance between education, work, sports, pursuit of fun, time with friends and time for themselves. They went to public schools. Their mom and I refused to sign them up for two, three, four or more after school activities at once and subrogate our lives so that they could experience “everything”. They were encouraged to make choices and taught that every choice has consequences. We are involved in their lives, but, continue give them room to grow – including room to make mistakes. We have not blamed government, industry, teachers, their friends, their friends’ parents etc. when they made choices that we didn’t agree with. I find celebrity titles to be a waste of my time, my wife gets enjoyment from them – does that make her a dummy? – I think not. For the vast majority of us that work 50, 60, 70 or more hours a week, it is a choice – we need to pay for our big houses, fancy cars, fancy toys, cable TV, private schools, keeping up with the “Joneses” or whatever. We’ve made choices and they have consequences. We could simplify our lives, take on less debt and spend time actively involved in the education of our children, or we can continue down the path that we’ve chosen. We, as “intelligent” human beings, are responsible for the path American society is traveling and if we don’t like it, we have to make changes in our behaviors. Blaming “everybody else” is simply not going to affect a change . . .
(Submitted by a Paper Person)

Re: USPS Board Clears Several Rate Hikes
Sorry, but I have zero sympathy. At my house we receive two or three catalogs a day; we receive catalogs addressed to people who have not lived here for years. We never order anything from any of them; they cost money to print and the printing must add to pressures on the environment, from burning energy to landfill; why the hell should this be effectively subsidized by the rest of us? Let the minds of the direct mailers be concentrated by something approaching the true cost of what they are doing.
(Submitted by a Writer)

Re: (Your) Folio Show
I wanted to send you a quick note and thank you for taking time to speak at the Folio show - I really enjoyed your presentation and felt it was at the essence of what we need from these sort of shows.
(Submitted by an Unknown)

Boomer Boon: 'Crazy Aunts and Uncles' Spend $1.7 Trillion

Boomer Boon: 'Crazy Aunts and Uncles' Spend $1.7 Trillion
Try Telling That to a 24-year-old Media Planner
By Rance Crain article_id=115804

The first wave of baby boomers turned 60 last year, and they are preparing for their retirement years much differently than any generation before them. Look no further than newly minted sexagenarian Elton John.

Not enthusiastic
You'd think this onslaught of newly freed-up money would be cause to celebrate on Madison Ave., but Barron's noted in March, "It's something the advertising and marketing industries will have to come to grips with, something they're not too enthusiastic about."

The demographic that gets all the attention, of course, is the 18-to-49 crowd, which can be depended on to buy many tubes of toothpaste and cars during their gainfully employed years. Older people get treated by advertisers "like crazy aunts and uncles who show up uninvited for Christmas dinner," as Barron's put it.

Funny thing is happening
But a funny thing is happening on the way to the old people's home. Boomers -- those born between 1946 and 1964 -- and even their immediate predecessors are using their so-called golden years to indulge their passions, whether it's to start another career, go back to school, do charity work, travel, cook, play sports.

After conducting focus groups for Investment News, our publication for financial advisers, GfK Customer Research North America concluded, "It is clear that respondents' retirement years will be very different from the traditional view of the relaxed, sedentary retirement of their parents." Nearly all respondents expect to lead active, fulfilling lives.

The ad business is woefully out of touch with baby- boomer buying power. Young ad people think older people are stuck in their ways, so it's a waste of money to try to get them to change brands. But at the What's Next Boomer Business Summit, AARP's chief brand officer said 60% of people over 40 research different brands before making decisions.

The sad fact is that older people aren't worth as much to advertisers as younger ones. If it weren't for prescription-drug and denture-cleanser ads, the nightly TV news programs would go broke. Barron's said that Food Network celebrity chefs didn't want anything to do with its article on boomers because "the talent doesn't really like to be associated with an older group" -- it brings in lower ad revenue.

Richest consumer group
Barron's estimates a prime-time TV show with most of its viewers in the 34-to-49 range can get 30% more per ad minute than one that caters to people 55 and older. Yet consumers age 50 and up already spend more than $1.7 trillion on goods and services a year, and the 78 million baby boomers are richer than any group in history.

Try telling that to a 24-year-old media planner. It's hard enough to get them to evaluate an integrated marketing plan on the basis of overall effectiveness rather than take it apart and judge each component on a CPM basis. What chance would a magazine have that tried to convince media people that their over-50 circulation actually had value?

Agencies like to think of themselves as the last bastion of creativity, but they're in many ways the most calcified part of the process. Enlightened clients are beginning to realize this resistance to change is holding them back; the next step is to bypass their agencies' counsel.

'Got Advice?'
Investment News found many of the 55- to 65-year- olds in our focus groups didn't see the need for an investment adviser, prompting Editor Jim Pavia to call for a national ad push "that focuses on a basic guide to personal financial advice." He suggests "Got advice?" along the lines of "Got Milk?"

Jim's serious point was that financial planners have a "basic responsibility to join together to ensure consumers understand the benefits of the financial advice that is readily available to them."

And while we're at it, how about a campaign headlined, "This is not your grandfather's grandfather" to show that today's older person represents a hot prospect?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Advertising Looks to Online Future

Advertising Looks to Online Future
From The Sunday Times _sectors/media/article1595910.ece

Advertisers now spend more online than in the national press but the boom in digital ads has not run its course, says Paul Durman

NIGEL MORRIS, one of the most experienced figures in the online-marketing industry, likes to tell the story of what happened when his young children, then aged five and three, visited their grandmother.

His sons were watching a Scooby Doo cartoon on the Boomerang channel when they were called for tea.

As the children of a leading ad man, they were used to the latest electronic gadgetry at home — but there was no personal video recorder, such as a Sky Plus box, at their grandmother’s house.

Morris recalls the look of consternation on his five- year-old’s face as he realised he would not be able to pause the programme he was watching. He simply couldn’t understand “why he would watch something on a screen that he could not pause”.

Morris, chief executive of Isobar, an international network of digital-marketing specialists, is one of many who believes that youngsters growing up today will have a completely different relationship to TV and other forms of media.

Unlike their parents, the YouTube generation will not be prepared to sit back and simply consume what they are given. They will expect much more control — to be able to choose when, where and on what device they watch and read about the things that interest them. Their attention will be much harder to win.

“Television companies will tell you that kids are still watching as much TV,” said Morris, “but they’re not. Television does not have the emotional pull. Programmes do, the stuff they see on a screen does.

“But conventional TV — something that’s scheduled, that I sit down and watch at a time someone has decided for me, prepared to watch the ads while it’s on — they don’t get it.”

He continued: “You ask any kids, what would you rather be without: the TV or the internet? They will tell you, we’d rather be without TV.”

This generational change is one of the drivers behind the boom in online advertising, which last week passed another milestone. The latest figures from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), prepared in conjunction with Price Waterhouse Coopers, showed that British advertisers spent just over £2 billion online last year — overtaking the amount spent in national newspapers.

Advertisers are already spending more online than on radio (£582m), outdoor-poster sites (£932.5m) and in business magazines (£1 billion). But what is more striking is the continuing rate of growth. Online grew by 41% last year, and the IAB’s Guy Phillip-son is forecasting the sector to attract at least another £500m this year.

In contrast, the growth in other sectors is at best anaemic. TV advertising revenues shrank 4.7% last year, radio by 5.2% and press classified by 7.8%.

Even if these declines are exacerbated by cyclical factors, as many believe, the increasing importance of the internet and other forms of digital advertising is clear.

This was reflected in the recent souring of the 25-year relationship between Nike, the sportswear giant, and Wieden + Kennedy, the agency responsible for a string of memorable campaigns.

Nike wants a new firm to handle some of its advertising, partly because of a lack of digital expertise at Wieden. “We are looking for expertise in different mediums, different creative directions,” said Nike.

The move has sent a ripple of concern around the advertising industry.

Mark Beilby, analyst at Dresdner Klein-wort, said in a note last week: “Many traditional advertising agencies, with deep-seated expertise in television and print, have been slow to grasp the impact of the internet.

“Many agencies seemingly still do not have enough digital talent to meet client demand, and those that do often have kept the digital department separate from the rest of the firm.

“The real issue is no longer one of change from old to new media, but whether media companies are infusing digital into all aspects of their departments.”

The role of social-networking sites, such as MySpace and Bebo, is also growing in importance. (MySpace is owned by News Corporation, ultimate owner of The Sunday Times.)

The huge success of the current box-office smash 300, a gorily-told story of Spartan bravery, is partly attributed to Warner Brothers’ use of MySpace. The film’s MySpace page offered video clips and wallpapers — not unusual these days — but the real hook was a sponsorship deal that enabled the site’s users to store 300 photos, far more than previously. 300 took $70m (£36m) on its first weekend in American cinemas last month, a record for a March opening.

In Britain, the growth in online advertising is still being driven by Google, and search advertising more broadly.

What may not be so widely appreciated is the scale of Google’s UK business. With revenues of about £870m last year, the search giant makes more from UK advertisers than either Channel Four, Sky or Five.

Dave King, managing director of Eyefall, the search- marketing specialist owned by Engine Group, said: “There’s huge more upside. A significant volume of brands have yet to go through the learning process. Lots of clients would say search is absolutely new. We still see chief executives and marketing directors who are bowled over by the apparent transparency of this medium.”

The measurability of search-based pay-per-click advertising — the ease of calculating return on investment — is its great initial attraction.

But King said more sophisticated advertisers, such as Phones4u, were using search to complement television and press advertising. For example, he suggested, the mobile retailer might buy search terms such as “new Nokia handset” to maximise the impact of a TV commercial which interests viewers and prompts them to go online.

The growth in online does not necessarily mean that traditional media cannot hold their own.

Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), publisher of the Daily Mail, last week published figures showing that advertising revenues at its national titles had grown by about 4% in recent months.

Peter Williams, DMGT’s finance director, said the Daily Mail’s 5m readers, “very targeted in terms of middle England”, were still a big attraction for “heartland” advertisers such as Marks & Spencer.

“To get to that volume of people in their marketplace online is still pretty difficult,” said Williams. “It’s going to remain so. It’s complicated to get to the same number of people by aggregating different web properties.”

However, the fastest-growing part of DMGT’s ad revenues — up 141% year-on-year — is online.

The group has bought Jobsite, Prime Location and several other recruitment, property, dating and car websites, and is investing heavily. “We expect to see substantial growth,” said Williams.

Some newspapers have been hit by the loss of recruitment and other forms of classified advertising. But there is confidence that they will continue to be a more attractive option than the web in display — the high-impact advertising that is important for brand- building.

Claire Enders of Enders Analysis, the media-research firm, said: “We don’t believe that display advertising as we know it will be kaput in 2010. It’s not going to happen.

“We’ve had five years of really fierce experimentation online. But there’s very little emotional response to online display. It’s still viewed as an experimental medium.”

Enders pointed to the difficulties that web firms, including Yahoo, MSN and AOL, have had in persuading their users to accept “prerolls” — short ads that run before, and finance, the video clip they wish to see. That difficulty suggests there is still plenty of life in the 30-second commercial, and in display advertising in newspapers.

That said, there is little scope for traditional media to be complacent. Enders expects that the revenues for television, radio and newspapers will each fall by about 5% this year, and will fall again next year. The proliferation of new digital radio and television channels will continue to cut slices from the advertising cake.

The growth in online display (or graphical) advertising — banners, videos, sponsorship and so forth — has lagged behind search. The improvements in broadband speeds and appeal of online video may start to change this.

“It would be fantastic to see the graphical side of things matching search,” said Caroline McGuckian, media director of LBi, another leading digital agency. “I fully expect the growth pattern to continue, but I hope and envisage that the shape of the growth will change. The graphical element will be driven forward more in the next couple of years.”

Glen Drury, head of Yahoo UK, said the increasing ease of using online video opened up the internet to brands that found it hard to use search. (Nobody searches for “tooth-paste”, he pointed out.)

Moreover, better targeting of ads using “behavioural matching” analysis is offering dramatically improved results. Yahoo has begun offering advertisers the opportunity to reach consumers who have in some way expressed an “intent to purchase”. For example, they may have searched for “BMW”, clicked on a car ad, or used the car section of Yahoo’s price- comparison site, Kelkoo.

Drury said the results were much better than when targeting ads by simple demo-graphics. “There’s a 56% uplift [in response rates] when you target by behaviour,” he said. “That’s enormous.” Another challenge, barely visible at present, will come from the mobile-phone industry. It may be hard to believe looking at most of today’s handsets, but faster connection speeds will soon make the mobile internet a reality.

Like Google and Yahoo, mobile carriers already have lots of information on their users that will allow for the efficient targeting of advertising. Combined with location data, mobile advertising is set to become an important adjunct.

The mobile carriers are also teaming up with the social-networking sites. Orange last week signed a partnership deal with Bebo, and Vodafone is already working with MySpace and YouTube.

Morris, who wrote his first research report on the internet in 1993, believes the move online is inexorable, and Isobar is well placed to benefit.

“The shift in the proportion of spend is going to be quite large,” he said. “Some big brands are still spending a tiny amount online, not using the channel in any way.

“But for a lot of clients that have made the move, it’s a vital business driver.”