Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Online ad spending rises sharply, outpacing print recovery; blaming Apple is becoming a career choice

The Interactive Advertising Bureau reported that Internet advertising revenues in the U.S. reached $12.1 billion in the first half of the year, setting a new record for spending, and is an 11.3 percent increase over the first half of last year.

“Interactive advertising revenue is on a strong upward trajectory,” said Sherrill Mane, SVP, Industry Services, IAB. “Nearly all types of ad formats are showing positive movement and marketers across all advertising categories, most notably consumer packaged goods and pharmaceuticals, are increasing their investment in digital media.”

In comparison, consumer magazine ad pages rose 3.6 percent in the third quarter of this year, and were basically flat in the previous quarter. This reinforces the view that while magazine ad pages are indeed recovering, the print industry has lost market share against electronic advertising during the recession. B2B media has not reported its results for the quarter yet, but my thinking would be that it would report a small uptick in ad pages -- if any increase at all.

Tell me if you see what may be wrong here: In other words, once someone has two or more app issues downloaded, Condé Nast was unable to tell which issue they are looking at because Apple does not provide that level of detail. Incidentally, this is one of the frustrations magazine publishers have when dealing with Apple, because they can’t scrutinize their subscribers’ buying habits as well as they can do with their print pubs.
So Condé Nast can tell how much time a reader spends with their print products? I thought they had to pay for research to figure this out. I had no idea print magazines were embedded with some sort of device that tracks my reading habits. Crips, I better dump all those print magazines!

Blaming Apple for not freely giving publishers all their customer information is common among our crop of media writers. But what if Apple just handed this information over, would you think there might be a bit of a backlash against Apple?

Oh, and by the way, are publishers getting this information from Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, HTC? I was not aware of the flood of information being provided to media companies by these companies derived from their Android apps. No, it's only Apple that is holding back apparently. Geesh.

I don't think publishers are so naive as to expect free research from Apple. They know that apps on an iPad are pretty much the equivalent of the newsstand for print magazines: it's hard to figure out who is buying what as publishers only receive the barest of information from the distributor. This is certainly frustrating, but its something publishers have been dealing with for years.

Media writers may think Apple should spoon feed their media customers, but I guarantee you that media executives are not expecting this to happen -- they just want a more open Apple, a more open app approval process, and a way to make the iOS subscription models work.

Update: As fate would have it, after publishing this post I immediately received an e-mail from the folks at Readex Research which, of course, was soliciting me for some print magazine readership studies. Print research has been an active business for longer than I've been doing this: whether it was Scarborough Research reports for newspapers, or Readex Research for magazines.