6 ways the decline of newspapers & magazines can hurt your business

Reading biz

I'm a newspaper guy. Been one all my life. Love my morning paper. Except now it only comes 3 times a week. And then, it's thin. I've already bemoaned this fact in a previous blog post. But, I hadn't given a lot of thought to what the decline of papers and magazines meant to business. UntilI read an article from Strategy + Business online today, called "What a Declining Business Media Means to CEOs" They listed 3 ways it hurts business:

1. More negative press about profits and enterprise. They said that as more experienced journalists (read: more expensive) are cut, younger ones come in. These less savvy journalists are more likely to be swayed by negative talk they hear and less likely to dig for evidence to the contrary.

2. Less of a platform for companies to spread their message/strategies. With fewer business publications and pages, along with fewer reporters. Companies just don't have as many outlets to tell their story. And we're not hearing about the innovative things they're doing.

3. Fewer opportunities to learn from each other. With less being reported on, companies don't have all these free case studies to read and learn from. They see less new ideas that could spur on new ideas of their own. The business press used to act as sort of a focus group of new ideas, but they are much fewer now.

Death np

To their list, I'd like to add a few more, focused on regional/local business news outlets:

4. Less distribution vehicles for circulars. A number of our clients put out weekly sale circulars, which have been traditionally stuffed into the newspaper. Now, some of the papers have gone away, others are offering limited days, but circulation is down, too. Mailing circulars is expensive. Stuffing them in other delivery methods, such as Advo, have their own problems. We've even started experimenting with digital circulars online.

5. Less co-op, added value benefits. Media outlets have always worked with businesses, especially on a local level, to give them added value through their media buys. Often they would partner on a joint venture in a marketplace or help with sponsorships for special events. They were also a sure place where retailers could get co-op money from manufacturers for ads. But, less space means fewer ads.

6. Less localization. As local business magazines and newspaper business sections shrink or disappear, there is less or even no local coverage to connect with the local/regional business scene. If a company is doing a local promotion or a local charity event to be a good corporate citizen, it's a lot harder to get those messages out.

What other ways to you see the decline of business journalism affecting business today?

Mike McClure, Partner, ECD

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