If there is anyone who still doubts that the Internet is becoming the major source for us to gather news and entertainment, just look at a few estimates by leading research organizations:
- This year, advertisers are expected to spend more of their money on Internet sites, than on newspapers. Within two years, Internet ad spending is projected to top the combined total for newspapers and magazines.
- In 2012, mobile ad spending in the U.S. grew 180 percent to top $4 billion. Google, Facebook and Twitter were the big winners.
- Want to advertise in the venerable news magazine, Newsweek? You’ll have to do so online. The 79-year-old magazine released its last print issue on Dec. 31. Many other major daily newspapers and general interest and trade magazines have gone the same route over the past few years.
- Even television, which remains the most popular medium, is facing its own problems with time-shifting and an aging viewer base. Adults age 65 and over spend far and away the most time watching TV — 60 percent more than the next highest demographic group. Ever notice how the network’s nightly news shows are heavily sponsored by pharmaceutical companies and their drugs to treat diseases of the elderly?
We may all find the end products of ad agencies to be largely irritating, often juvenile and rarely entertaining, but these people do their homework. They will lose customers if they aren’t hitting the media targets people are consuming these days.
Those of us in public relations need to take notice and follow the lead of our advertising colleagues. We must make our clients aware that times are changing — and rapidly. No doubt, a placement in the print issue of the New York Times is still a big win. But we can no longer minimize opportunities to be in a NYT blog, the front “page” of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (online only since 2009) or making a splash on our client’s own Facebook site or Twitter account.
It won’t be long before clients will want to know the number of monthly unique visitors to a media Internet site, before asking about print circulation.
A similar trend is underway in the way we read books. Recently, a study showed the percentage of people reading printed books is declining, while e-book readership is on the rise.
And, as an aside, think of the added benefits to the environment as we use less paper, ink and fuel to deliver print publications and books to consumers.