Being forced to change is never an easy idea to accept if your business was previously making lots of money. We are now seeing large companies in huge industries failing because they did not plan, innovate or notice the world was changing around them. The mad scramble in the car industry is occuring but traditional media is also in crisis mode. Just this past week multiple articles have brought this to light. Most of these articles are about prints decline but it is safe to lump all traditional media into most of these discussions. (TV is actually closer to more solutions than print and radio.)

First one from Techcrunch is that newpaper ad sales have gone from really bad to really really really bad. Q1 ad sales down $2.6 billion. Let that sink in for a moment...... I am sure there is lots of blame to go around in the industry but that does not move the industry forward or does it?The print industry in the next article blames Google for stealing their ad revenue.

The American Press Institute met in Chicago and came out with a plan to save the newspaper industry. And in this plan they lob some stones at Google and Amazon (brillant!). Their plan is horrible. Lets make consumers pay for content, show the same old ads, lobby for policies that help us, invest huge amounts of money to create a platform for the industry to charge for content and a bunch more bad ideas. Techcrunch has so nicely embeded a copy of the white paper. (This meeting of the newpaper big wigs is walking a fine line of anti-trust as well)

Then here are a couple of guys with some opinions on what is wrong with the newspaper industry and they provide some sounder solutions.

Clay Shirky does a deep dive, in his post titled Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable, into the history of newspapers and how they need try new things to figure out what is next. He states we are currently at the point were everyone knows the model for the industry is broken but no one knows what will fix it. Here is one of my favorite quotes from the post.
"This is true, but irrelevant to the problem at hand; “You’re gonna miss us when we’re gone!” has never been much of a business model."

Next up is Kirk from Post Advertising he wrote Redefining Advertising to Save Journalism. He is getting closer to a solution. The newspapers need to change how they advertise.

Traditional media know how to create great content. Now they must learn how to customize and leverage that content to captivate an audience while driving marketing results for a client.

New types of advertising solultions for marketers need to be developed and the only way to figure out which ones will work is to test them. Some bombs are going to happen but when gold is struck it will be a nice payout. More brainstorming between traditonal media and their advertiser is needed to create new forms of advertising.

This is startingto happen, as I am actually working with a radio station on creating a unique strucutre for my company to "advertise" on their website. The ideas we are bouncing around involve revenue sharing (CPA or affiliate deals if you will) for customers that they send to us and buy, mixed with on air mentions, banner ads and even tweets by their on air personalities. In the end if done right the station has the potential to actually make more money than they would from their normal rates. In additio the station can make money post the advertsing run if we negotiate an extended cookie.

The industry needs new people brought in to start coming up with creative advertising programs. Tradtional media has good content and they have eyeballs/ears that can be monetized but status quo or just the same old models re-applied to new technology is not the solution.

To end is a YouTube video called The Day Media Died. A nice remake of Don McLeans American Pie that summarizes the fall of big media buys.


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