Print media losing toBy Russ Lynch
Net as advertisers
Print, in the form of magazines and newspapers, is losing its importance as an advertising medium as the Internet and specialized television gain, speakers at a Hawaii Publishers Association luncheon said yesterday.
Noting the pending demise of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, along with other afternoon newspapers across the country, the failure of Aloha magazine earlier this year and other print cutbacks, panelists said publishers will have to work hard to stay in place.
And the trend of consolidation of advertising agencies and the shift of advertising purchasing decisions to New York are affecting all local media, said one of the panelists, Jack Bates, chairman and chief executive of Starr Seigle Communications.
Advertising budgets in general have declined and purchase decisions are made by buyers far away who have no understanding of the local market, Bates said.
Meanwhile, Internet marketing is growing, he said. Internet advertising placed by his agency went from zero to 25 percent of the agency's gross income this year and next year it will be 45 percent, he said.
"Our big threat today is interactive media and its ability to deliver messages faster, more succinctly," he told print medium representatives at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
Bates acknowledged that his agency's big shift to the Internet is largely explained by the fact that Starr Seigle concentrated on building its share of that market. But he said there are other trends that threaten print, citing an already-existing system that allows people to download a whole novel electronically and read it on a hand-carried machine, page by page. Bates said he has also seen a preview of a magazine reader that can download an entire color magazine, advertisements and all.
However, Bates said advertisements "only build awareness" and printed material still is needed to get the details across. "Print is the only media that has a lasting image," he said.
Another advertising agent, Martin Schiller, president of the Schiller Group, said there still is plenty of room for printed publications and there always will be, but the approach will have to change.
"There's no reason for us today to read the daily stock reports in the newspaper," Schiller said. Those who are interested can look up their stocks on the Internet at home, he said. Nevertheless, print will survive as a medium, Schiller said.
"Radio survived television and yes, print will survive the Internet," he said.
What will be needed is concentration on niche opportunities, subjects that print can deliver better than electronics, he said. But it all boils down to "share of time," how to capture a person's attention for a few moments in the face of a wide range of media vying for that same attention, Schiller said.
"If you don't have share of time, you will not have share of market," he said.
Marc Witter of Ogilvy Mather Hawaii told the publishers they should forget about trying to produce something that will please advertising agencies just to attract their clients. "Concentrate on producing a great readable product for the consumer," he said, and the advertising business will come.
Louise Saffery of InterMedia said her firm buys advertising space and time in all media and recognizes that advertising is a highly specialized, specifically directed business these days.