AT A TIME when print media are at their most vulnerable to the digital onslaught, newspapers and magazines should be doing everything possible to make themselves more competitive. Say by keeping a tight control on costs, or improving their reader-appeal.
But no, they remain the most inflationary medium of all. Media Inflation Watch (MIW), which measures the rise in advertising rates and factors in the declining audience delivery to arrive at a genuine inflation index (a cost per thousand surrogate), finds that the overall inflation rate of print media advertising last year was just under 13%. Rates went up by only 5.6%, but readership declined, leaving publications worse off.
As a sub-category, MIW’s Mike Leahy points out that daily newspapers raised rates by 5.3% but saw readerships down by almost 10%, giving them a 17% MIW index rate.
Compare this with television, radio, outof-home and cinema, all of which out-performed print (see table).
Most of Media24*’s dailies froze their rates, so Die Burger, which had a smallish circulation decrease, managed to come in at a 4.6% MIW index. In contrast, Leahy notes, the Independent’s dailies, The Star and Cape Argus , lost heavily in the circulation race and delivered inflation rates of 32% for The Star and 49% for the Argus.
Note that new weighting has been introduced into Radio Audience Measurement Survey, making it impossible to compare audiences with previous periods. So the performance index has been set to zero in all media other than print.