Thursday, June 19, 2008
BoSacks Speaks Out: BPA-ABC's Unwise Attack on Magazines
The new pathology detailed below actually disgusts me. There are over 18,000 magazines printed today and of that number 7,000 are newsstand titles. There are approximately 1,000 new titles started each year. This report and the campaign against legitimate magazines listed below is an attack at the heart of the entrepreneurial publishing business. ABC, ABM, BPA, and the Association of National Advertisers have a very minor fraction of the titles published in their bullpen, yet they wish to crush all who stand in their way or choose not join their exclusive clubs. I am not alone with these feelings. Samir Husni wrote to me in an email last night that:
. . . it is about time for magazines to start looking at customers who count and not just counting customers . . . those folks who publish great magazines like Good and Flaunt do not need an auditor to tell them how many people are receiving their magazine. Their customers, both the advertisers and the readers know the relationship that they enjoy between the reader and the magazine . . . It is a pure case of jealousy and greed to launch such a campaign. When are we going to learn not to attack each other and focus on other media. Advertisers who want to reach that unique upscale audience of V magazine are not interested to see either the ABC audit or the BPA audit . . . When are we going to learn . . . I have no earthly idea . . .
It is unconscionable to attempt to crush the rest of the industry. It is attacks and stupidity like this that will tear down the very industry that they are attempting to prop up with self-serving dogma. Like chastity, auditing is/and should be a choice. A pox on all your houses; but I cannot wish harm on my industry by wishing that ye reap what ye sow.
Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970), Unpopular Essays (1950), "Outline of Intellectual Rubbish"
BPA and Friends Turn up Heat on Un-Audited Magazines
By Bill Mickey
An educational campaign targets client-side, b-to-b buyers. BPA, along with about 10 other association and auditing bodies, including ABC, has ramped up a campaign to combat ad buying in un-audited titles. Called Buy Safe Media, the program targets client-side buyers in b-to-b markets that spend $250,000 or less on advertising. The program, initiated two years ago by BPA at the request of member publishers, has emerged from a testing and research phase and the 11 associations and auditing bodies have begun to reach out to their constituencies in earnest.
"About two years ago, our publisher members on the b-to-b side were telling us that more and more of the buying decisions were being made at the client level, not through an agency," says Peter Black, BPA's SVP, business development. "They were concerned that the person at the client company did not have an appreciation for audits or quality circulation data." BPA conducted a Web-based survey of about 500 b-to-b client companies across a variety of markets in spring 2007. The results turned in very low numbers for audit awareness.
The survey inquired about certain criteria upon which buyers based their purchase decisions-placement of editorial, price, audit, and so on.
"There was a choice for 'other,'" recalls Glenn Hansen, BPA's CEO. "We had over 300 written-in responses to the 'other.' When we analyzed that, about two-thirds were actual attributes that an audit would provide, but the respondent didn't associate with an audit. They wrote in things like distribution, quality circulation and proven audience." A personalized direct mail campaign was then launched last fall targeting CEOs, CFOs and, finally, media buyers at 1250 companies identified as having purchased ads in un-audited magazines across five b-to-b markets.
The mailing cited the number of pages that company had purchased over the year along with the dollar value of those pages. The letter also pushed the recipient to the Buy Safe Media program's Web site, which features a video and information on the pitfalls of buying un-audited media. "Insist on audited media, and be safe," urges the site. "Based on our tracking, we got a ten percent response rate to the direct mail [from the CEOs]," says Hansen. "Then we broadened it to CFOs and we got a six percent response from them." The third effort, however, targeted to the actual media buyer, squeaked out a .5 percent response.
"Maybe they just didn't want to be faced with the reality that they bought un-audited media and there were a lot of dollars at risk," says Black. Supporters backing the initiative include ABC, ABM, BPA, the Association of National Advertisers, and seven others. "Everybody is handling communications with their respective memberships," says Black. BPA, for example, has announced a Webinar on the subject to recruit more publisher partners.
Following that, another direct mail campaign targeting 3300 CEOs and 800 CFOs from companies that buy six or more pages annually in un-audited titles will be launched next week. "We will cite the number of pages they're running, the likely dollar value of those pages, and the message will be to drive them to the Web site to give them more information to better safeguard their investment," says Black.