After years of touting their digital initiatives, traditional media are beginning to rethink things. The Wall Street Journal recently took note of a new magazine campaign spearheaded by Jann Wenner, creator of Rolling Stone. In a statement that might as well be referring to radio, Wenner wrote:
A lot of us sat back for way too long and listened to all this abuse and said nothing about it. Meanwhile, we sit on top of one of the greatest mediums.
The article adds:
The spark for the campaign was a "manifesto" Mr. Wenner penned last year, in which he said that just as TV didn't kill magazines, the Internet was a threat only to publications that lost focus on what makes magazines unique. "In a certain way, this campaign is aimed at the magazine business itself," Mr. Wenner wrote.
Time Warner's Time Inc., Hearst, Advance Publications' Condé Nast, Wenner Media and Meredith are coordinating a $90 million ad campaign touting the "power of print." Nearly 1,400 pages of the ads will appear in magazines including People, Vogue and Ladies' Home Journal this year. The ads were created by WPP's Young & Rubicam. (Click ad to enlarge.)
The WSJ authors note that:
Amid a decline in spending on traditional media, other industries are making similar pitches for themselves. The Newspaper Association of America has run repeated ads to publicize the number of people who read a daily newspaper. As with the magazine campaign, the newspaper trade group says its ads are designed to counter the notion print is a dead medium.
The local-TV industry's trade group is starting an on-air ad campaign this month to encourage companies to advertise on their local TV stations.
We predicted this last year. All these digital initiatives have done more harm than good. Last November we wrote:
Newspapers responded to declining revenue by drastically cutting print expenses. They fired reporters, consolidated staffs, eliminated whole sections of the newspaper, and in many ways they began producing a print product quite inferior to the newspaper they produced in the past.
They felt the future was online, and to hell with the print product. They plundered their print product to finance their digital push. Did it reverse newspaper's fortunes? No. Now newspaper finds itself with a hollowed out print product and little to show for its digital efforts.
Traditional media is beginning to understand that revenue lost from their core non-digital product cannot be made up for in their digital product. And paying for their digital efforts by diverting money from their core product inflicts damage on both.
We closed the post with this warning:
We believe that if radio continues to debase it's terrestrial product in the belief that all that matters is radio's digital future, it will suffer the same consequences that befell newspaper.
Newspaper, local television, and magazines are all pushing back. Where is radio? MIA. The HD campaign? No one listens to HD and no one cares about HD.
The Radio Heard Here campaign? Hopelessly misguided.
The magazine campaign directly targets the Internet, comparing it to print’s strengths. Radio is still selling against satellite, as if that’s the battleground.
Once again, radio demonstrates why it is not taken seriously.