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Why's no one beating up the ad side?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Dave Kindred, Apr 25, 2009.

  1. Dave Kindred

    Dave Kindred Member

    Had a talk with a great old editor the other day. One topic, of course, was the current crisis. Why, he asked, do we see a zillion stories blaming reporters and editors and none saying, "If the business model is broken, that's not a journalism problem, it's a business problem"?

    I'm sure I've read in the wrong places. But I have not seen a single think piece that cites advertising department for "failure to see the Internet coming," for "failure to innovate," for "being change-averse."

    Someone, plz point me to such a story.
  2. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    Because to admit that it's an advertisement problem is to admit that we're effed, because internet advertising isn't changing for our sake.

    It's easier to believe that there is something we, as journalists, can do.
  3. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    I'd like to blame our advertising department for losing the Circuit City account, but that would be kind of silly, eh?
  4. VJ

    VJ Member

    It's not the advertising department's job to create new technology to appeal to younger readers.

    If anything, the blame rests more on marketing departments and publishers who were happy cashing checks and not investing in the future of the product.
  5. Ben_Hecht

    Ben_Hecht Active Member

    Cutting into bone and compacting content to a shadow of its former self is no way
    to give the ad department a helping hand.

    But this isn't changing, so long as UPPER MANAGEMENT CONTINUES TO VIEW NEWSPAPERS

    And screw you, little man.

    (Sam Z leans back in his Eames chair, and cackles . . . )
  6. Moondoggy

    Moondoggy Member

    While we're on the subject .....
    If classified made up such a large chunk of newspaper revenue, and classified is gone now and not coming back, why haven't the ad departments adjusted there? How is that a content issue, Mr. Zell? I'm just asking.
  7. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Dave, there are two problems here. One is beyond human control. Because the Internet is a big place, Internet advertising cannot generate much more than five cents on the dollar compared to print advertising (and believe me, it's like one one-thousandth of a cent on the dollar compared to TV advertising). The Internet has demolished the advertising-supported business model for media. TV is taking steps to charge for content. Newspapers had better.
    2. Walk a mile in a salesman's topsiders. Suppose you were really good at selling things. Would you pick advertising space as what to sell? No, no more than you'd pick Dodge minivans. Newspaper ad departments are not attracting the best of their field. Nobody sells stuff for the romance of newspapering, they're in for money.
  8. Dave Kindred

    Dave Kindred Member

    Michael: Was it always such an easy game for newspaper ad people -- classifieds carrying 40-50 percent of the load -- that their departments are staffed with mediocrities who had to learn nothing more than how to answer phone calls from local car dealers and realtors? That's my theory, with the mediocrity compounded by the splintering of media.

    Until someone persuades me otherwise, I'd say newspaper websites, as poorly as they've been built, have done journalism/information/entertainment 10x better than they've done advertising....
  9. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    How many ad reps have a four-year degree in marketing or business? How many ad reps really get Internet advertising they are supposed to sell? Just ask if they know what CPM or keywords are?

    Ad staff aren't being trained to sell the Internet and that's a part of the problem.

    As for classifieds, my hope is that people realize how many items on Craigslist are scams and why newspaper ads give you an actual product.
  10. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    They aren't being trained to sell the internet because A) their bosses don't know how to sell the internet, especially with B) an editorial product that gives it work away for free.
  11. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Well, I disagree. My dad was a classifieds manager for part of his newspaper advertising career; his degree was in marketing. They don't wait for car dealers and real estate agents to call, they drive out and sell to them, same as any other advertising person servicing a display account (which is what it is -- a display ad running within the classifieds section). The other stuff -- the private parties trying to sell their 7-year-old car -- that's kind of out of their hands; those are attracted by the largest critical mass of such ads within a market.

    Some of you seem to believe that an advertiser is a pool of oil waiting underground and all you have to do is drill and extract money. Advertising budgets are a finite resource, planned for the year like any other business expense. A business is going to spend X amount this year and that's all there is to it -- usually based on a percentage of a business' gross revenue projection for that year. A good salesperson tries to educate an advertiser (or potential advertiser) how best to spend that finite amount for the year. Say a small ad every day instead of one big ad on Sundays. Maybe the football tab isn't the best way to spend an advertiser's budget and the salesperson won't push it -- he'll suggest that the weekly entertainment tab is a better place for that particular advertiser. An ad on the Web site may not be perceived as beneficial either to the advertiser or the ad salesperson or to the newspaper.

    Also, every market has local businesses that pay their bills (on time or eventually) and those that stiff you. An outsider may look at a few stores in a town and say, "Why can't the advertising department sell to those shops?" Well, they could. But they know from experience that those businesses won't pay up.

    Another fact of life: newspaper advertising sales was once an equation built on relationships with clients, trust developed over time between salesperson and business owner. Now there is less stability on both sides, as newspapers no longer care so much about keeping a salesperson for 20-40 years and most local independent businesses have been driven under by chains -- the local shop often run by someone who won't be there for the long haul and who has little autonomy to make advertising decisions anyway (those decisions now made by a regional office hundreds of miles away).
  12. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    I just figure they've gone on whacking journalists because we don't bring in money, we just spend and cost them money. Even lousy ad salespeople bring in a little bit of dough.

    They still think of us as lavishly paid fry cooks rather than the actual burgers, dogs and chicken drummies they're trying to peddle. We're the product, not the line workers, you morons. Hell, old pig-fucker Zell thinks we're overhead, like buzzing fluorescent lights.
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