Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here’s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.


 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate

Subscribe!
Subscribe





On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.
___________

Syndicate
RSS/XML


RSS 2.0

Print media's not dead, just in the ICU

By Jonathan J. Ariel - posted Wednesday, 2 January 2013


Given at this time of year most of us are busy shuffling from kitchen bench top to oven to dinner table, and from retailer to wrapping paper to Christmas tree, one of the least joyful tasks we look forward to when we find a chance to steal a few moments alone with the iPad is surely to wade through reams of verbiage in order to get to the nub of an article.

So permit me to come to the point.

This is a short 134-page book that is good, but far, far from great. It has the makings of a wonderful essay or perhaps an uplifting oration but it’s not a cool book. Not cool at all.

Advertisement

There are just too few facts and only a small part of a very important story is conveyed. If you’re a working journalist, a recently made redundant journalist, an aspiring journalist or merely interested in the media you’ll be left wanting.

That said, like all great storytellers, the author, Margaret Simons, the Director of the Centre for Advanced Journalism at the University of Melbourne, raises more questions than she answers. And as they say in creative writing classes: she shows rather than tells.

I expected the book would explain the changing face of print media and how the current business models of most mainstream media firms are broken and in need of repairs.

But it doesn’t.

Two major forces that are diluting the profitability of print media – softening advertising revenues and a collapsing (paid) readership - are both exacerbated by the current economic slowdown. The former Editor-in-Chief of The Age Michael Gawenda explains this and more in the book’s thoughtful foreword.

The economics of media (both legacy and new) that underpins the financial viability of a business barely makes a cameo appearance in the book. There is scant mention that a significant factor in the transformation of the media over the last three years has seen marketers lug their spending away from paid mass media print advertising in favour of online communications, be it customised (non banner) advertising on e-zines, loyalty programmes, Facebook campaigns or reeling in customers to their own web sites.

Advertisement

In ad speak this is called  “below the line” marketing, and already represents three-quarters of most marketing budgets, having grown faster than paid media since well before the current slowdown. Below-the-line campaigns is tipped to consume the bulk of marketing spending as the economy improves, placing a cap on the ad recovery that print media outlets are counting on to restore their profits or even to ensure their capacity to hire staff and allow journalists to produce high end content such as investigative pieces or long form articles.

The rise and rise of digital media has hit print hardest, since print ads are priced at a significant premium over other kinds of advertising and crucially marketers have been lethargic to reduce spending on print media’s closest substitutes: broadcast and cable television spending, because these marketers want to continue creating and developing brand awareness.

In addition, former print advertisers, as they consider travelling towards more and more digital communications, will be shocked to find that the digital space already resembles a crowded airport runway, teeming not only with same-industry rivals but also with a much broader set of opportunists, including Google, Yahoo!, Facebook and Big Media’s online properties, all attempting to aggregate “eyeballs” from an array of sites.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. All

Journalism at the Crossroads: Crisis and Opportunity for the Press by Margaret Simons, Scribe, Melbourne 2012 $22.45



Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with del.icio.us Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Jonathan J. Ariel is an economist and financial analyst. He holds a MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management. He can be contacted at jonathan@chinamail.com.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Jonathan J. Ariel

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment Comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend
Deals from Sponsor
Flipit.com Australia
15% off with this coupon code on HP Notebooks and PCs $2000 and above
Sign up now and use this promo code to receive your second year free at Smile.com.au
Woolworths coupon code: Get $10 off when you spend $100 or more
Travel Factory promo code: Get 10% off storewide
ValueBasket discount code: Get $8 off any order of $330 or more
Advertisement

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy