News That’s Fit to Post and Pry
The Newspaper Association of America is taking off the white gloves. They just announced a name change to the News Media Alliance. You know where this one’s going... The elephant in the room is the word “newspaper,” now considered “meaningless” for many of the group’s illustrious members, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Dow Jones. These news sources now have more online “viewers” than newsprint “readers.”
My accountant once told me, “The numbers don’t lie. They tell your business story.”
Newspaper publishing has increasingly become a tale of woe and Pew Research Center has the numbers to prove it:
• Weekday circulation in 2015 fell 7%; Sunday circulation fell 4% (the greatest declines since 2010)
• 2015 advertising revenue fell 8%; its greatest drop since 2009
• The newspaper workforce has shrunk by about 20,000 positions, or 39%, in the last 20 years
• In 2014 there were 126 fewer daily papers than in 2004
Expect more of same when the 2016 stats are tallied.
But if you’re still reading a newspaper (as I am), you already know all this intuitively. Less in-depth coverage. More wire stories. The quick read format of a USAToday (once dubbed “McPaper” by its rivals when it launched in 1982, its editor would go on to rightfully boast "We invented the web page.").
We live in a digital age.
Love the perks (get-it-now speed and resources) but starting to worry about the potential.
You may have noticed that digital billboards are virtually everywhere. And speaking of the numbers telling the story, the spending on what’s known as “out-of-home advertising” has risen for 24 consecutive quarters according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America.
It’s all about the optics. And the potential.
Digitized billboards can do it all, and then some: change a screen’s image every 30 seconds; show videos and stream live events; display social media.
But you might be surprised to learn that some companies are starting to mount cameras to billboards to collect data about you when you innocently walk or drive by.
According to The New York Times, “Clear Channel’s Radar program...tracks the travel patterns of people passing by its billboards. The program uses mobile device data and other information to determine if people later visit a store or search their smartphones for the product.”
Senator Chuck Shumer (D-NY) is asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate these “spying billboards,” saying “a person’s cellphone should not become a James Bond-like personal tracking device for a corporation to gather information about consumers.”
Clear Channel’s position: “The data is anonymous and aggregated – we’re not looking at individuals.”
But be ready for your close-up.
It’s getting dirty out there and it has nothing to do with newsprint.