Lies damned lies and statistics


Print media RIP? The future of print and what it means for
“There will be no media consumption left in 10 years that is not delivered over an IP network. There will be no newspapers, no magazines that are delivered in paper form. Everything gets delivered in an electronic form. “   Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, quoted in the Washington Post, June 2008 In this second issue of ‘Lies, damned lies and statistics’, we’ve looked at a single theme:  The future of print media, what it means for you, and which media outlets are the most effective when it comes to communicating brand messages.

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Issue 2, 2009

by falling ad revenues, we think that television has a brighter future, as it can embrace the Internet better – just think of the occasions where you might have had your laptop open while watching TV.

If we look at how things stand today, the Internet has

“All the endless obituaries I've r ead about t he deat h of newspapers struc k me as rather ludicrous - or, at the least, extremely premature. Until those of us who came of age before the Internet all die off, there will be a market for print versions of newspapers.”

neither will the Internet kill off print.  However, we do think that the newspaper landscape is shifting beyond recognition. Looking at ad revenues and circulations, print media overall is on a downward trajectory.   

overtaken newspapers as a primary news source.  

As a result, broadly speaking, when it comes to essential and trusted news sources, visual and interactive media – Web and TV – come top, followed

In the future, print media will be leaner when it comes to circulations, more specialised

by static media – print papers and analogue radio.

(Arianna Huffington)
The first thing to say is that we’re not of the “newspapers RIP” school of thought.  Or at least not completely.

when it comes to audiences and having to embrace a hybrid future where it actively offers content on the Web and interacts with online audiences.  

Unlike Steve Ballmer, we think that just as TV didn’t kill radio, Despite the fact that it’s also hit







Guardian Telegraph






The reach of UK national newspapers in thousands, ABCe figures January 2009

Newspapers are more popular than ever
Despite all the talk of the difficulties print media has been facing, newspapers are actually more popular than they’ve ever been.    The reason is of course the Internet. In January, The Guardian online was attracting almost 30 million unique users, at the same time as the print edition had an ABC circulation figure of 358,000, minus 5% year on year. Lately the Guardian has been using its online operations to become a global news source, with greater investment in its US business.   

when thinking about how to use its content, setting up the webbased Telegraph TV in early 2008 featuring the likes of Anne Widdicombe and Lloyd Grossman. Meanwhile, in the US, Nielsen figures showed that the online audience for newspapers grew by 12% over the past year, even as their print editions ran into difficulties.

Similarly, despite the ageing demographic of its print audience, the Daily Telegraph has a print circulation of 842,000 and a web reach of 26 million. The Daily Telegraph has also had a progressive attitude

The New York Times and soon The Guardian, have also started to engage the upmarket, educated iPhone / iPod t ouc h audience by releasing an application via Apple’s iTunes store that allows the newspaper to be read via Apple’s smart phone.  

Despite this, the future is uncertain
At the same time, there is a question mark on whether the Internet can in the long-term bail out a lot of newspapers. Writing on Australian marketing website ‘Mumbrella’, journalism professor Stephen Quinn, put the challenge into perspective by pointing out that even The New York Times would only be able to fund a fifth of its current newsgathering budget with what it makes from web-based advertising. In fact, while the February ABC circulation figures showed every UK national newspaper except the Daily Star (which cut its cover price to 20p)

recording a drop, the biggest threat to newspapers is the decline in ad revenues. According to Enders Analysis, UK newspaper revenues are projected to drop by 21%, compared to a 10% drop when it comes to TV. Meanwhile in the US, eMarketer predicts that from 2005-2012 there will be seven straight years of ad revenue decline, totalling 42.5%. And Classifieds are vanishing as a newspaper revenue stream. In his Mumbrella article, Professor Quinn cites the fact that in 2000, classifieds accounted for 40% of US newspaper profits. Now they account for 23%. This is thanks to classifieds sites such as Craiglist and Gumtree – which in many cases allow people to post for free.

“Newspapers were a nice business. Publishers could make the product insanely cheap (remember the penny press), and the advertising would cover the expenses, plus generate fantastic profits. “However, this is clearly over. It’s done. It worked for a long time, but now, like trans-Atlantic leisure travel in big passenger ships, it will never work again.”
(Online journalism lecturer, Mindy McAdams)

Print media is no longer seen as essential
The reality is, the daily newspaper read is no longer as essential as it once used to be. In fact, fewer and fewer consumers see print newspapers as a prime source of news. At the end of 2008, TNS released its global ‘Digital Worlds / Digital Lives’ study. Out of all countries surveyed, the UK had the lowest amount of trust for newspapers, with 23% saying they ‘highly trusted’ (an 8+ on

a score of 1-10) newspapers. 35% said they highly trusted TV, while 45% trusted friends, which beat online news into second place with 40%.

“The thing that worries me most at the moment about the condition of journalism is, frankly, who’s going to pay for the journalists and the journalism in 10 years’ time? My kids wouldn’t dream of buying a newspaper — and we are a newspaper household.” BBC Presenter and former newspaper editor, Andrew Marr

However, what’s important is that this definition of online news does not include blogs, which had a high trust rating of only 6% in the UK. This links into the trend we’ve just mentioned: Thanks to their online editions, newspapers are reaching more people than ever – just not in print.

Meanwhile in the US, a Pew Research Study said that 70% of Americans see TV as an important news source (down from 82% in 2002), 40% see the Internet as an important news source (up from 14% in 2002), while only 35% say the same about newspapers (down from 50% in 2003).

High trust’
Friends TV Online News Newspapers Blogs

45% 35% 40% 23% 6%

42% 41% 40% 39% 10%

Regional papers have particular difficulties
“Recently, Paul Potts, the chief executive of the Press Association, Britain’s biggest news agency, told me that judges had complained to him that important trials were going unreported because newspapers had cut back on the number of journalists.” Ex-editor Kelvin MacKenzie, The Sun 12 March 2009
essential reading in the same way that the online There is evidence that unlike the nationals, regional newspapers are not that successful in making the transition online. In December UK blogger Martin Belam found out that no regional newspaper had more than 127 Google Reader subscribers. Google Reader is only one of several ways to subscribe to online ‘RSS’ (live) feeds, but to put this into its proper context: In December The Guardian had 118,000 Google Reader subscribers with a print circulation of 349,000, or a ratio of 2:9 to 1. By comparison, the ‘best’ performing UK regional in Google Reader subscribers was the Eastern Daily Press (Norwich) with 127 subscribers, and a print circulation of 63,508….a ratio of 500:1. That shows that though web visits to regional newspapers may be high, they haven’t become According to the Pew Research Center in the US, only 33% of consumers would miss their local paper a lot if it closed. And despite that, as Kelvin MacKenzie said in his Sun piece, they perform a vital public service, local papers might only be missed once they are gone. According to Enders Analysis (Financial Times 12 March), local newspapers will see an ad drop of 48% from 2007-2012. Newsquest, the owner of a number of UK regional papers, reported property advertising down 58% in the last quarter of 2008. editions of the nationals have. In fact, in the US, a study by Northwestern University showed that 62% of consumers have never visited their local newspaper website.

The importance of word of mouth and personalisation
In fact, thanks to the advent of social media, word of mouth is becoming more important when it comes to spreading news.

At the same time, in the US AdAge published a survey showing that Facebook, which is rapidly becoming the Google of social networks, drives more traffic to certain key websites than Google itself, despite having a third of its traffic. Meanwhile according to Hitwise, the micro-

We’ve already mentioned the TNS Digital study, which showed that in the UK friends are the most trusted source of news.

blogging platform Twitter overtook UK newspapers in terms of online reach in March.

"Imagine that you walked into a 400-year old market where the clerks hand you and every other customer an identical bag containing exactly the same mix of some 50 items and they tell you it contains what the supermarket's manager thought you and everyone else should or would like to eat. Despite its venerable history, would you shop at this market again?" (Online journalism pundit Vin Crosbie)

"Not all readers demand such quality, but the educated, opinion-leading, news-junkie core of the audience always will. They will insist on it as a defense against "persuasive communication," the euphemism for advertising, public relations and spin that exploits the confusion of information overload. “Readers need and want to be equipped with truth-based defenses.” Philip Meyer, author of The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age

So what’s the future?
In 2004, Philip Meyer was in a sense ahead of his time when he wrote a book on “The Vanishing Newspaper.” Last year he published a follow-up essay where he said that the way forward for print journalism was not to be all things to all people, but to appeal to a narrower group of consumers who value investigative journalism and in-depth features of the type that online-media often can’t deliver. Indeed, research from Deloitte, the business advisory firm, showed that 73% of Brits admitted to enjoying reading printed magazines even though they know they could find most of the same information online – and magazines are by their nature more specialised and niche than newspapers.

A hybrid world?
Earlier we quoted political blogger and online publisher Arianna Huffington in mocking the constant obituaries of newspapers.

In a Guardian interview, Huffington saw convergence happening, with traditional newspapers like The Guardian taking on more of the persona normally associated with online news outlets, and large online news outlets like The Huffington Post doing the type of reporting that used to be the preserve of traditional papers. We’d agree that talking about the death of newspapers is premature. And this convergence argument makes sense. In future there will be far fewer print media outlets.

The ones that exist will have successfully made the transition online, and the ones that still appear in print will appeal to a smaller audience willing to pay money for quality reporting – with quality rather than quantity being key.

What does this mean for you? Some conclusions

So if you are about to draw up your brand plans, what do all these facts and stats mean for you? We’ve drawn out five conclusions.

In Summary
1 - Online exposure isn’t second best Online news outperforms print on reach AND credibility. Also, think about all the times you forwarded on an online article vs kept and handed on a print article. 2 - TV is holding its own “TV usage is at an all-time high, and yet there's a lot more people using the Internet. Part of the answer is that it's happening simultaneously" (Nielsen) 3 - Make online integrated Rather than having it sit in an isolated ‘silo’, just as you wouldn’t do it for print, radio etc. 4 - Look at interactive over static media See the diagram on the previous page. Static media is there to inform, interactive to engage. 5 - Publish your own content If every consumer is now a potential media publisher, so is every brand.

1 – Don’t look at online exposure as second best. It’s not.
From experience we know that for a lot of marketers, that piece in print is perceived as being high value, while online is second best. A great piece of print coverage seemingly has that psychological trophy value. But the facts speak for themselves: Online does better when it comes to reach and it does better when it comes to influence. And online coverage is by its nature more viral. Think about it: You are more likely to check out a website, share something, or look for further info if already online,

than if reading a paper on the way to work. In fact, whatever your demographic, they will be online. For example, according to the TNS ‘Digital Worlds’ study we’ve already quoted, UK housewives spend 47% of their free time online.

That’s because, according to several studies, TV and Internet use often successfully ‘bleeds’ into each other. According to a Nielsen study in the US, “TV usage is at an all-time high, and yet there's a lot more people using the Internet. Part of the answer is that it's happening simultaneously." That’s mirrored by UK research carried out by video search engine Blinxx, which shows that 70% of Brits surf the Internet and watch TV at the same time. Again, they are much more likely to check out online anything that they see, and that makes broadcast exposure potentially very valuable.

2 – Move TV to the top of the brand queue
Our recommendation for a generic brand plan, would be to place broadcast and online joint first, and print second (with the caveat of specialised titles and magazines having more importance).

Indeed, the most successful TV shows, like the series Lost, recognise that the Web isn’t canabilising their viewers, it’s a place where they can extend their brand. Meanwhile, Web only TV shows (as opposed to YouTube style clips) have had questionable success. As reported by AdAge, 64% of web TV viewers drop off after the first episode and by episode ten, there are not many viewers left.

endear them to their readers. Then there’s the possibility of moving from regional to local to grass-roots. To engage communities at neighbourhood level through gate-keepers such as clubs, networks and associations. For example, one such gatekeeper in the UK is the parish-pump, which syndicates editorial to 6000 parish newsletters – the type of grass-roots media normally below the radar of most brand programmes. Then there is local radio. While commercial radio has also seen advertising revenues drop, its low cost, flexibility, and the growth in digital and Internet radio, means that it is seen as a more ‘stable’ medium. P&G job-swappers at Google's New York office. 'Interactive isn't a group, it's everybody's job” David Bell, Google, quoted in the Wall Street Journal Online campaigns shouldn’t sit in isolation, instead all the media elements of your programme should join up the dots. It makes as little sense to have online elements treated separately from the rest of the plan as print. As a result, ask how can offline and online content work together? With the emphasis on online content not being an added bonus, but very much part of the main event.

It seems that though we’re happy to have our news via the Internet, we still want our TV from the box.

3 – Regionally, look at websites, communities
As local print declines there’s some evidence that local websites will fill part of the void. Look at any locality in the UK, and there will be one or more bloggers writing about their community. No, they don’t have the resources of a newspaper, but they often have a quirky style and local knowledge that

4 – Make online media an integral part of your campaign
"The worst answer you can hear from an agency is, 'Don't worry, we have a group to handle interactive,' said David Bell, a Google consultant, during a session with some

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5 – Finally - publish your own content
It’s been said countless times that today anyone can be a media publisher. Anyone can write online content, anyone can upload a video, anyone can post pictures, anyone can start and take part in a conversation. How to initiate and publish content online and to avoid brand speak is the subject of our next report. dirkthecow You’ll also find our presentation ‘justifying social media to internal clients’ on there, which serves as a companion to this one. We’d be happy to come in and present either to your brand teams. We can also create bespoke reports around your particular market, please contact Dirk Singer about this.

This is Cow
We’re Cow, the industry body (PRCA’s) agency of the year. We combine media, brand experiences and digital work to get bums on seats, people through the door, products off the shelves and people thinking about your brand in new ways. We’re the agency that got baked beans on the front pages of the papers, created the world’s most expensive burger and developed sausage and mash ice cream style cones and vans. Though the 30 of us are based in London and Cape Town we’ve developed creative templates that our clients have used in Europe, Australia and The States.

Creative commons
With thanks to the following for use of the images (for each go to DRB62, Jasonmchuff, Canpac, KYZ, Ohglory, jojakeman, ehnmark, liberalmind, avlxyz, thomasroche, svadilfari, vidiot

However, in the meantime see our presentation, social media in the recession


If you found this report useful
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