Print is still alive and well, which is great news for me. Can you believe that the newspaper industry is having a huge uptick in subscriptions? Granted, that includes digital versions as well as printed newspapers. However, according to a Nielsen Scarborough study, more than 169 million U.S. adults now read newspapers every month, in print, online or mobile. That’s a huge part of our population! Last November, the New York Times picked up about 130,000 new subscribers. The Washington Post is adding 60 newsroom jobs and NPR reported late last year that “Big Newspapers Are Booming.”
What gives? Well, besides the fact that some online ads are just plain terrible and the revenue they generate is not consistent, what else could be causing this? Could it be that consumers are tired of seeing “fake news” or stories and headlines that are produced mostly for clickbait purposes, or could it be the annoying, constant bombardment of pop-up and banner ads they have to contend with while reading online content? (My personal pet peeve is the time it takes to load a site with 100 ads on it.)
Certainly given the time of the spike, the presidential election can take some credit for this rise in subscriptions, but it’s not really about politics. Most signs point to the dismissal of online ads as the biggest reason that subscriptions are continually climbing.
It’s not just the news media though, because all kinds of reader-supported publishers have been seeing a revival. All of this points to overwhelming evidence that the ad-driven publishing model isn’t working anymore. Consumers want high quality content without having to deal with distracting advertising, and concurrently, companies want their marketing dollars spent wisely with personalized communications and measurable results. This is why more and more companies are turning to direct marketing and print to make a big difference in their marketing ROI.
Guess what? Direct mail doesn’t have annoying pop up ads.
The thought of taking customer data and transforming it into targeted materials that produce attention-getting results gets me excited to get out of bed in the morning. Really, I’m being serious! Not only can we get the message across quickly with highly personalized printed pieces, but also our customers can ensure their data remains safe and confidential.
There are genius ways of combining some of those online ads with print, but I’ll save that for another week.