Newspapers Grow By Delivering Value

By News Media Insights Archives
Cover image for  article: Newspapers Grow By Delivering Value

The Standard Media Index (SMI) this week reported findings that really caught the attention of almost everyone in media. A service that tracks spending by 80% of all U.S. agencies, SMI reported that newspaper spend was up 18% in September and 16% for the quarter. Their research is directional as it doesn’t include all agencies and does not reflect spends made by clients direct (i.e. Macy’s) or FSI activity handled by specialty placement shops. That said, the numbers are still impressive and are frankly no surprise to us here at the NNN. We saw similar double digit percentage gains for both periods. In fact, for Q4, we are already pacing ahead of these Q3 industry growth figures. With all of the negative press that the newspaper industry has managed through over the years, the obvious question most people are asking when they read the report is: What is driving this growth, and is it sustainable?

SMI reported that growth in newspaper was coming from two specific categories, consumer electronics and entertainment. At the NNN we have seen it grow in those categories alongside spending gains in pharmaceutical, financial and luxury goods. The takeaway from our perspective is that growth is not coming from just one source. Instead we are finding that more and more marketers are embracing the targetability, the trusted environment and the attractive demo of newspaper platforms when developing their messaging strategy.

In a world where the automation and efficiencies offered by programmatic platforms appeal to the procurement side of brand marketing, they also sit side by side with tricky issues like transparency, trust, environment/adjacencies and value. What we have found at the NNN is that by creating a sound value proposition against advertisers’ need we can collaboratively build solutions that drive growth for all parties involved.

The NNN recently developed a partnership with the Nashville-based research firm Triad. With Triad, we are able to create research studies that measure both newspaper ad awareness and actions taken for marketers. These findings can help marketers optimize campaigns in the moment insuring that the best possible results are delivered across the audience and the campaign flight.

In digital, we partner with a variety of research firms to do the same. These tools augment the more block and tackle levers that we all use to optimize campaigns and deliver on the campaigns’ original KPIs.

But at the core of the newspaper pitch are the findings we share through syndicated research tools like comScore. There our NNN Top 25 market aggregate  demonstrates the scale that exists with newspaper digital platforms. Additionally, we can turn a spotlight on the attractive symmetrical demographics of the newspaper consumer. These impressive tools have helped us exceed our total prior year  digital ad spend by August.

The SMI report tells a larger tale. This isn’t a return to print as magazines struggled in the period with spend reductions of 9% for the quarter and 11% for the period. It also isn’t a return to a “local” phenomenon as both radio and out of home also posted declines. Instead, we see this as a momentum that is beginning to mount for a variety of reasons, not the least of which have been created by ever increasing and overarching digital concerns that can be sourced to programmatic. There the NNN has worked successfully in operating as an agent between agency programmatic teams and publishers in establishing a relationship that is built on professionalism, trust and accountability. It’s no surprise that as a result, we are seeing meaningful gains here as well.

Traditional media isn’t out of the woods yet, and newspaper is no exception. But our experience at the NNN over the same time frame and for the foreseeable future is consistent with what SMI has reported. When a value proposition delivers results, real results, the marketplace responds and we all win.

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