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Radcliffe Denim

To Print or Not to Print

New study findings announced last week are sure to create a gleam in the eye of the beleaguered print media industry.

In recent months there has been increasing focus on marketers' shift in spending away from broad-reach, above-the-line advertising (e.g., TV, radio, print, outdoor) toward more targeted, measurable below-the-line approaches (e.g., direct mail, interactive).

But now academic researchers at Ball State University's Center for Media Design suggest print media such as magazines and newspapers are far more engaging than electronic media like TV, radio and the Internet by virtue of the fact that people don't multitask when consuming them. Print continues to garner a smaller share of consumers' total media consumption (where digital channels dominate), but is not subject to the fragmented attention spans for which other channels compete (e.g., it's not uncommon to be surfing the Web while watching TV).

While this is all well and good for the print media industry, advertisers can't overlook 2005 average response rates recently published by the DMA:

Direct Mail: 2.77%
Dimensional Mail: 3.67%
Postcards: 2.19%
Catalogs: 3.67%
E-mail: 2.48%
Telephone: 8.55%
Package Inserts: 1.74%
Statement Stuffers: Less than 1%
Coupons: 4.29%
Banner/Rich Media Ads: 3.52%
Search Engine Marketing: 1.07%
Newspaper – Space Advertising: 0.5%
Magazine – Space Advertising: 0.17%

DRTV: 8.14%
Radio: 0.31%

At the risk of stating the obvious, I'll note that marketers need to consider their audiences and their campaign objectives when determining the appropriate channel mix, rather than adopt or dismiss tactics based on any one data point. I strongly believe there's room in the mix for all - if not most - of them; the real challenge is in determining how to make them work best together.


Raphael Chun

JupiterResearch found the average online consumer spends 14 hours a week online, which is the same amount of time they watch TV. "Even the most intensive users of newspapers and magazines spend less time reading these publications than they do online or watching TV. TV and newspaper companies risk losing an entire generation of users unless they immediately start promoting their online products," says JupiterResearch Analyst Barry Parr.

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