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

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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.

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Friday’s newspapers: Independent’s Ivory Coast story breaks conventions and cash-strapped Cameron’s fly on Ryanair

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Whatever you say about The Independent, I don’t think anyone can deny that it often has great front-pages.

Today’s for example is striking, with a helicopter flying over the city of Abidjan in the Ivory Coast, seemingly being fired at.

It doesn’t really follow the conventions.

 There are no celebs, no fancy graphics or over the top headlines. But for some reason it just works.

Brilliant

It’s brilliant front-page almost makes up for the fact the rest of the paper is full of black and white pictures, which still strikes me as strange.

There’s also an incredible story on page 11 of the paper, about a Swedish couple who went on a “catastrophic honeymoon tour”.

Understatement

Incredibly, their trip saw them go to Australia, South-east Asia and Japan. Erika Svanstrom says it “turned out to be a bit more than we bargained for.”

 That’s quite an understatement!

The Daily Telegraph has a great front-page story, about the government looking for a “Twitter tsar.”

‘Tough’ job

That’s right, someone is going to be paid £142,000 a year to send out “text messages” make initiatives “easy to understand”.

 Well, it’s a tough job…but someone’s got to do it.

The Telegraph, along with the Daily Mail, also has a fantastic picture of the Cameron’s in an airport departure lounge.

 But this isn’t first class, as you’d expect. This was with Ryanair.

 And as such, both David and wife Samantha look suitably fed up. Clearly the recession really has affected everyone.

Paying for Osborne’s petrol

The Daily Mirror has gone with a typical tory-bashing story for their splash, as apparently George Osborne “charges YOU for HIS petrol”, as they’ve put it.

Now, as much as it is bare faced cheek for him to claim petrol expenses, did we really expect anything different?

 At least it’s not a bloody duck pond! And let’s face it, if we were in a position to claim as much as this bunch of ‘politicians’ do, we probably would.

Read more of Wordsmith:

Rupert Murdoch’s media monopoly

Japan earthquake shows importance of rolling news

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‘Hypocritical’ Clegg hammered as Sun leads witch hunt

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