Advertisers have got newspapers right where they want them, now they’re going in for the kill

Leave a comment

HSBC cover ad for Telegraph (pic: Nick Clapp)

This is a post I’ve been meaning to do for a while, about the way advertising in newspapers is changing.

It’s no secret the industry is dependent on adverts. Newspapers especially rely on advertising for most of their revenue, and so have to bow to the pressures of the ad men.

This has become even more apparent in the last few years, as papers lose more and more money.

Amazing changes

However, something amazing happened recently which really showed how much things have changed. At least I think it was amazing.

The Daily Telegraph, the only British paper which has maintained a traditional broadsheet style, came with a cover advert. That’s right, a cover advert.

Why is this a big deal?

Control

Simply because it shows now how much control advertisers have over newspapers.

Clearly to carry out such a huge campaign (it was for HSBC) still would have cost an astronomical amount of money.

But a few years ago this would have been unimaginable. Now, it’s a reality.

Good and bad news

This brings with it good and bad news. The good news is that it clearly means advertisers are still willing to pay for newspaper ads, and see them as the main way to get their message across, so at least they won’t neglect the industry.

The bad news is, as papers have to make more and more money from advertisers and squeeze out every last penny, they will have bow down to pressures a lot more and resort to things like cover ads.

This is the kind of thing which could eventually destroy a newspapers reputable image.

Just look at last Friday’s Independent for another example.

Five ads over two pages of The Independent (pic: Nick Clapp)

Spread across pages 30 and 31 were no less than five ads. Five. That’s an incredible thing to see, especially over just two pages.

Short term solution

Newspapers are struggling to survive, so in the short term selling such large chunks of each paper seems like a good idea.

But if this trend continues and gets worse, then I fear it could eventually lead to our most respected publications becoming nothing but colourful picture books.

Read more of Wordsmith:

Japan earthquake shows importance of rolling news

Sun and Mirror get Rooney fever over his ‘Coke’ problems

Sorry MacKenzie, you’re speaking rubbish

Murdoch’s News of the World hacked phones? So what

‘Wonder pill’ for fat people, and shed a tear for Cowell

Sorry ex-Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie, you’re speaking rubbish again

Leave a comment

So Kelvin, as you say in today’s Independent, you’d shut all the journalism colleges down eh?

He proclaims “there’s nothing you can learn in three years studying media at university that you can’t learn in just one month on a local paper.”

That, for a start, is completely wrong.

If you’re to become a complete journalist and learn the real necessary skills needed, you need some kind of training.

Learning the skills

 How else will you learn about subbing, design, layout, interviewing, headline writing, use of pictures and how to structure a story to make it interesting, all at the same time?

If you took “the old-school route” as he puts it, you would be thrust into the job without having a clue how to juggle these requirements.

Yes, you would learn some basic stuff, but not very well or in any great depth.

No time to fail

On papers you don’t have time to fail, because of the pressure on you and the hundreds of people waiting to take your job.

You need time to make mistakes and learn from them, and learn about how a newsroom works before being thrown into one.

Best in the business

 There’s a reason I’m studying journalism at UCLan. And that’s so I can learn from some of the best former, or practicing, journalists out there.

The skills I now have can be applied to a vast plethora of jobs, not least PR, advertising, marketing, copywriting…the list goes on, and it’s a long one.

MacKenzie is living in a dream world if he thinks it’s that easy to “go straight from school and join the local press.”

Read more of Wordsmith:

Rupert Murdoch’s media monopoly

Japan earthquake shows importance of rolling news

Clarkson’s affair ‘exposed’ and NI bomb Libya link

‘Hypocritical’ Clegg hammered as Sun leads witch hunt

Sun and Mirror get Rooney fever over his ‘Coke’ problems

Ruper Murdoch’s media monopoly: Fair or undemocratic?

4 Comments

Debates have raged for a long time about how much power News Corporation’s owner Rupert Murdoch really has.

Some argue he doesn’t exert large amounts of control over the many parts of his media empire.

Then there are others who say his influence is profound. One such person, Brian MacArthur, worked under Murdoch for several years as an editor of The Times newspaper.

He said, in a recent guest lecture at the University of Central Lancashire, ‘The Sun Says’ section of The Sun is clearly “what Murdoch thinks.”

Opinion

It’s one thing to hear it from someone who has worked for the media tycoon. It’s quite another to hear it from the man himself.

In the above clip, Rupert Murdoch admits trying to “shape the agenda” of his news broadcasters.

Having said it himself, for whatever reason, it shows he’s willing to use his organisations for his own means.

This would probably shock many people. But should it?

After all, he is a businessman, first and foremost. He expects some kind of return on his investment.

As news providers (on the whole) don’t actually make lots of money, owners use them in other ways.

Of course, arguments against him using his own media monopoly to peddle personal views have validity.

Plurality

Someone who only watches Sky News or reads The Sun or The Times will get Murdoch’s own opinions shoved in their face.

However, we live in a country of media plurality, meaning it’s unlikely people will see news from just one source.

As long as the means is there to get a wide range of political views (which it is thanks to the range of newspapers and broadcasters) it means democracy functions effectively.

As bias is unavoidable (and objectivity can never be achieved), our media plurality is the next best thing.

Murdoch may control large swathes of the news industry. But as long we have access to a range of opinions across the spectrum, it doesn’t really matter.

Read more of Wordsmith:

Celebrity gossip: Why people love it

Gareth Bale and robots

Japan earthquake shows importance of rolling news

Related:

Media Ownership – should we be worried? (Passing Nightmare)