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June 27, 2006

Fact for the Day

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Magazines are experimenting with new kinds of digital platforms, reports USA Today's Laura Petrecca. Which makes sense: As more and more advertising action moves online, magazine managers are following the money. The fact I found most interesting in Petrucca's very interesting piece (emphasis mine):

U.S. Internet advertising will boom 27% this year to $14.5 billion, while spending in consumer print magazines will grow 3% to $13.2 billion, Merrill Lynch forecasts. It would be the first time that Web ad spending beat magazines. Merrill sees Internet ad spending at $17.7 billion next year, and magazines nearly flat at $13.4 billion.

Interesting -- and make that interesting-scary -- times in the mediabiz!



posted by Michael at June 27, 2006


Do web advertisers really think they're getting value for money?

Nobody actually looks at an advert in a magazine, they're just flicked past by the reader, but internet adverts are even more easily avoided. Firefox allows the blocking of pictures from other sites - e.g. adverts - and has simple extentions which block flash adverts and allow you to block static ads with a click of the mouse. No matter what advertisers come up with, there's always going to be some software boffin on the web who'll offer a free programme to block adverts and everyone's going to use them to stem the tide. One of the main reasons people use the net after all is to escape the ad blizzard which makes TV and Radio so irritating these days.

People will use this ad blockers because downloading adverts wastes time and bandwidth, while annoying flash ads are too distracting. The more intrusive the ads become, to try to attract our attention, the more people will block them out completely.

Technology allows good content on the web to be created and disseminated for very little, which is just as well, because no-one's ever going to pay for content and sooner or later the advertisers are going to realise that they're wasting their money with on line ads.

Posted by: Nick Mallory on June 27, 2006 2:55 AM

My first thought was that I don't pay much attention to advertising on the web. But my second thought was---I hardly even look at print magazines anymore, outside of doctors offices or getting my hair cut, and so I pay even less attention to their ads. But then since I am over 40...I may be out of the target demographic. It's very strange to be out of the target demographic, isn't it? It's like---what? They don't care what I think?

Posted by: annette on June 27, 2006 10:16 AM

So nobody wants to pay for content? Ignoring the glaring violation of people's copyrights (a constitutional guarantee, I might add), is it possible for you to see what this is doing to our culture?

When magazines and newspapers were the popular mediums, way back when, fewer were sold because the costs were so high, especially the weekly and monthly magazines. Still, some smart people were willing to pay a price for content. This was true until, of course, someone came up with the brilliant idea of selling space to advertisers. The advertisers underwrote a great deal of the costs, so subscription and newstand rates could drop. This is the model that also worked for TV. The advertisers, of course, followed ratings and circulation, and lobbied for dumbing down the contenet to reach the greatest number of people. This is the path to the sewer with which we are all familiar. But that underwriting still gave us some great stuff.

The truth is, most really great work needs some underwriting. The web is really about 95% crap. In other words, the content on it is approximately equal to what it costs to post. In the advertising free world of the web, where nobody wants to pay for content, copyrights are ignored almost completely. Who will write a great book, spending years on it, just to have a few people copy it onto the web and have it distributed for almost nothing, and not make any money? Ditto for movies, music, etc. Podcasts and TIVO can edit out commercials. Now with product placement, you don't know what you are getting. In what circumstance can you just get the story? why can't you pay for content? Don't you get paid to work? You pay to see movies, right? Or buy a CD or a book. At least I think you do.

Maybe that leads to having less entertainment in your life. Getting out from behind a screen would probably be good for most people anyway. But it allows creators to earn a living. Please tell us how really good work will be created in the future, if nobody pays for it?

Posted by: s on June 27, 2006 12:54 PM

Eye-tracking studies have recently shown that on the web most ads are in fact invisible. Up to 85% of ads aren't even seen, and fewer still are clicked on.

Personally, the only net-ad I really remember is that one for infected toe nails, which I recently had a nightmare about. (No kidding.) Why do netizens have such disgusting feet, I wonder?

Posted by: Brian on June 27, 2006 12:59 PM

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