Price flaws

Finweek English Edition - - ADVERTISING & MARKETING -

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.

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