January 27, 2006

Classifieds Shift Online

The movement of classified ads from print to web continues -- a trend that will without doubt will lead for further newsroom cuts in newspapers.

Two quick examples:

 Auto dealer classified advertising in newspapers is plunging -- down double digits in December. Full story here.

 Borrell forecasts that "online job ads will overtake newspaper help-wanteds by the end of next year. And by 2010, online classifieds will hit $10.6 billion, with newspapers a distant second at $4.8 billion." Story here.

This is the kicker anecdote from the Wall Street Journal story and it says it all about changing attitudes of advertisers toward newspapers as a viable commercial vehicle:

"Eight out of 10 customers that walk into our dealership have already looked at our Web site," says Wes Lutz, who owns Extreme Dodge/Hyundai in Jackson, Mich. Demand from the Internet is so keen that three years ago he designated a new position at his dealership: Internet manager. That person's job is to reply to all Internet inquiries within an hour.

Mr. Lutz still advertises with the local paper, but not nearly as much as he did 10 years ago. "They're just really antiquated," he says. "They're just stuck in time."

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Posted by Tim Porter at January 27, 2006 07:40 AM

Yes, readership has declined. Yes, we're not winning younger readers. Yes, the printed future may not be bright.

But it's also true we've publicized our own decline to such an extent that advertisers are starting to believe it.

The truth is, though, that in just about every market, the newspaper reaches more people than the competition.

Newspapers just don't do a very good job of marketing themselves. That's part of the problem.

The mass market hasn't quite died off yet, and newspapers are an important mass marketing vehicle. Advertisers who shift their dollars prematurely are making a mistake. Newspapers need to tell that story.

Posted by: Howard Owens on January 27, 2006 04:50 PM
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