According to Merriam Webster, the definition of ”truth” is ”a judgement, proposition, or idea that is true or is accepted as true.” This seems straightforward right? I mean..a fact is a fact. Well, as we all know, truth is often in the eye of the beholder. This is why so much misinformation or incomplete ”facts” float around about virtually everything. It’s why two people of similar intelligence can come to two completely different conclusions on virtually any subject. In other words, what I choose to believe may not be what you choose to believe.
At Mediabids we push back against the ”truth” about print publishing and advertising on a daily basis. This speaking into the wind nature of our everyday lives is particularly frustrating when it comes to the truth about weekly community papers. The Tribune (I mean Tronc, I guess), USA Today, New York Times and the big metro dailies get all the attention of the media watchers. You’ve all seen the headlines. The newspaper is dying right?
The truth is print circulation at many of the big metro dailies has declined (but they’re in transition and most are not going anywhere.) Nevertheless, the big metro dailies are also only one part of the newspaper industry story. The truth is that weekly community papers and shoppers are doing well and are very optimistic about their futures (see our most recent Print Observer post, ”The Future of Hyperlocal News.”)
To a certain extent, I’m sure none of this is news to the readers of the Print Observer. However, what you may find newsworthy, is that in terms of performance-based advertising (and all advertisers are demanding more and more performance), weekly papers deliver on par with daily publications. Through the first five months of the year, our direct-response ads in weeklies have delivered a similar number of calls as the dailies:
Per Month, Per Publication (avg.)
Weeklies – 104 calls
Dailies – 146 calls
At least in terms of our national advertisers, dailies clearly do a bit better than weeklies but this comparison needs some qualification. Weekly papers are generally delivered via the mail or later in the day – meaning people read them later in the evenings or over the weekend; the two least likely times for people to respond to print ads. On the other hand, dailies are generally delivered in the early morning. Based on our call volume data, readers then respond to daily paper advertising from 10a-3p weekdays (presumably while they’re on break or at lunch.)
Local news is important and continues to be relevant – not to mention near impossible to find from trusted online sources. Fact is, the local weekly still has a virtual monopoly on community news. Furthermore, local advertisers value being able to reach customers in the communities they serve, at a competitive price point and through a trusted local media source with generally deep roots. Local weeklies have a lot to be proud of – in both serving their communities and in their value to advertisers. No matter what you believe about the future of print, community weeklies are thriving and that’s the truth.
Post by Jim Jinks