Wednesday, June 10, 2009

So-called newspapers

Some mornings I have time to flick through the Dompost - others I don't and just go straight to the internet where I can get most of what I want anyway. The first Section of the Paper (A) is apparently devoted to New Zealand news. But it struck me quite forcibly this morning that it was more like a junk mail delivery. So I measured (unscientifically) how much advertising appeared in the 14 pages.

8.2 pages were advertisements.

Which would indicate a number of things.

1/ The newspaper has to increasingly get its revenue through advertising as circulation declines.

2/ There are less news staff generating content.

3/ We may be in a recession but there is still plenty of money for advertising. Some would view advertising as an even greater necessity.

4/ The paper is doing special deals on advertising.

5/ NEWSpapers are turning into what used to be advertising supplements which people like me could avoid.

What this brings me to is value for money. Do I need the DomPost? I like the letters-to-the-editor section and occasionally do a crossword. If I was a public transport commuter I would probably buy a copy but resent carrying around pages of advertising. As it is I am gradually turning my back on it in favour of the net.

Is there anybody out there that reads and enjoys the advertising? Would the 'newspaper' have more value if indeed it was exactly that?

9 comments:

brian_smaller said...

I stopped buying that rag years ago. Someone at work always has one if I want to do the crosswords, but almost everything Apart from the odd breakign story everything I read in it I have already seen on the net days or even weeks before.

brian_smaller said...

There is a bit of a sentence missing there but you know what I mean :)

Shane Pleasance said...

Ditto Southland Times.

Buggerlugs said...

The Southland Times is awful...whenever I read read it, it takes no more than 2 minutes to skim the whole thing and realise that I've already read it somewhere else the day (or three) before.

Reading ads? I always read the public notices, but then I am a geek...

Inventory2 said...

The Wanganui Chronicle (NZ's oldest daily paper, and feeling its age!) is another of the two minute wonder category.

As far as your question re heavily discounted advertising goes - absolutely. We get several calls a week from various papers we advertise with offering us special deals, usually in features which have nothing whatsoever to so with our business. It must be tough for the sales reps who are all commission-based, trying to flog off cheap advertising to clients who either don't want or can't afford it.

Anonymous said...

I've read better Kindergarten newsletters than what the Nelson Mail offered and after 3 years with The Press we cancelled that when the renewal came up. Online is the only way for us these days.

Medusa

Oswald Bastable said...

The Wairarapa times-age.

If they put grit on it, it would be of some value on the bottom of a birdcage.

PM of NZ said...

Ditto for Dannevegas Evening News. 4-6 pages daily not much bigger than a bog roll square and 99.9% about as much use. Comes wrapped in Hawke's Bay Today - not much in there either.

Shane Pleasance said...

That said, I would assume as it is a relatively free market, and they choose to produce what they will, based on revenue. If we didn't read it (buy it) they wouldn't print it - or they would adjust accordingly. They have no civic duty to the community to print anything other than that which they choose, which sells and gives shareholder return.

I get my news online or at the coffee shop - or occasionally on tv. TV is another example - IMO - of a medium losing relevance to me.

Started watching Boston Legal after someone called me Denny Crane's lovechild... and thats about it for me.

That said, less relevant TV and Print I believe provides far better opportunity for freedom of speech and the address of information asymmetry - for those who seek to learn the truth and do the deep thinking required to develop thoughts of their own.
Exciting times!