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“Got kitesurfing on the mind, mixed with some search & classification tech, and a dab of political ranting”

The “Local” advertising revolution, will not be televised

Posted by direwolff on August 7, 2006

During my 18 month stint at Tribe, we had an upclose view of what was happening with local markets and advertising, and the impact and scrambling this was creating for the newspaper industry. While we counted Knight-Ridder Digital and the Washington Post as investors, we also got to meet with most of the significant newspaper chains to hear their concerns and how they were thinking about the space. Well, there’s no way I could have captured the state of the industry any better than the following piece on TheDigitalJournalist titled, “TV News in a Postmodern World: The Real Threat to Local Broadcasters“.

Terry Heaton’s article does a good job in providing a window into some of the myopic perspectives held by local media executives. While I’d love to provide more direct examples, it’s never in good taste to harp on people’s weaknesses in public forums, so I’ll keep these to myself. A particularly interesting part of the article are the quotes captured from Gordon Borrell. Here’s one of them:

“I am very worried when I hear someone say that their trusted local brand is what consumers and advertisers will fall back on. Advertisers don’t give a rip about a trusted local brand that’s been around for 50 or even 100 years if it doesn’t give them what they need. They want something that works. If a young brand with no local representation (and even a ridiculous sounding name) can’t compete with WBIG or The Daily Plutocrat, then I have to ask how Google and Yahoo were able to suck more than $8 billion out of U.S. advertising budgets last year.”

His firm’s (Borrell Associates, Inc.) Fourth Annual Benchmarking Report provides some very interesting insights on advertisers’ local ad spend with out of the industry Web sites versus what they spend with newspapers, radio and television. Pretty eye opening.

Suffice it to say, it’s one of those situations where even an “I told you so” doesn’t fully convey what these local media companies have been told for a very long time, and they should consider themselves lucky that it took this long to happen.

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