Print ads under pressure as advertisers cut spends

Alarm bells are ringing for print players as industry majors like Maruti, Airtel, etc., are cutting down on their print ad spends as they see it less effective

e4m by Abid Hasan
Published: Aug 10, 2012 8:10 PM  | 3 min read
Print ads under pressure as advertisers cut spends

Growing topline in today’s volatile business environment is an extremely arduous challenge. For print, which is a derived business, it is all the more complex. So, when advertisers do well in their respective industries, media houses reap the benefits. But with the advertisers’ business model also under constant pressure due to technological disruptions and growing intensity of competition, the volatility of the media houses multiply. Moreover, inter-category migration of attention and cash, and intra-category intensity of competition are only compounding the challenges.

Thus, print advertising’s effectiveness is always under question. The statement by Mayank Pareek, COO (Marketing & Sales), Maruti Suzuki India, might ring alarm bells for print players. He said, “Within five years, we have cut down our print advertisement from 67 per cent to 23 per cent.”

He further said, “We redefined our strategy and analysed where we got the maximum worth for our brand and found that it is not from print. We have not totally got away from the print, but we have cut down our print spends as effectiveness of television is much better.” This should be a cause of concern for everybody in the print industry, he remarked.

Bharat Bambawale, Director, Global Brand, Bharti Airtel, too said that his company is using much less print advertising today than what it used to do some years ago.

Bambawale also felt that, one very strong global trend is that young eye balls are moving away from the print world to the video, which has become the biggest engagement medium.

To engage the consumer of video to print is a massive challenge for the print players.

He suggested as an advertiser, he would like to see different innovation in print. He said, “The conversation for the print owners and print mediums is to move away from the topic of how can we put an ad out there to how can we engage, how can we engage interest, bring more people involved in the medium itself.”

“I think one area were print medium can do a lot more is to ask themselves a difficult question how can the print medium engage the reader better,” added Bambawale.

Shashi Sinha, CEO, Lodestar Media, kept his point of view about the growth of print, he said, “One of the key reason why print is not growing fast because the marketers looks at cost for contact, the measurement has become cost of reach. It is totally towards the audience, it is not a measurement towards what the output is.”

He suggested, whether the output is in behaviour, engagement or its sales output. My recommendation is the matrix should change in some manner to measure the engagement. It should talk about the performance because today the world is talking about performance.

Some revolutionary thinking has to be done unless newspapers start showing the advertisers and agencies that they deliver better, remarked Sinha.

Mayank Pareek, Bharat Bambawale and Shashi Sinha were expressing their views at the 6th International News Media Association (INMA) South Asia conference, held in New Delhi on August 7 and 8, 2012.

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