I noticed on my ride in, at Greenwood and Queen, a commuter was grabbing both the Metro and the 24 hour free daily newspapers out of the boxes while she waited for the streetcar. Reading the paper from an actual paper, imagine that? As they talked on the CBC this morning about privatizing the post office in Britain, we now look at all our tactile communications from our past evolving into something digital.
I enjoy having my sofa covered in the various sections of the newspaper on Sunday morning. But I admit I only buy it one day a week now. The rest of the week is whatever I garner off of the various digital sites available online. Yes I'll break down and actually pay one of the major dailies for a digital subscription soon. After all, the people who prepare that material have mortgages and mouths to feed, and the gravy train of endless free online material will end simply by economic necessity.
Newspaper marketing has changed a lot over the years as have newspapers. There was a time when you simply needed to convince the public that your paper was the right one for your city. You bought a newspaper, they delivered it, you read it, then put it in the bottom of the birdcage.
Today the ads are slicker, the product is leaner and much more diverse. The Toronto Star saw the writing on the wall some time ago and invested in a variety of complimentary digital properties like Wheels.ca and online ad networks to enable survival and allow the company to grow into the 21st century.
Some publishers are testing the waters with racier image branding.Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz raised a rukus with a sexy commercial to promote the web version of their paper.
I apologize, there are no sub titles but you definitely get the gist of what's going on. The web paper is better than sex.
There were media reports out of Israel that women's groups were outraged by the commercial and protested it with a letter to the publisher. But as of this writing it's up to 310,000 impressions.
Newpapers like the New York Times have realized that a newspaper is much more than a newspaper when it rolls on to the web. The brilliant minds who have toiled over a word processor for decades still grace the pages with their words, but multimedia opens up a whole new world to the media hungry public. And no one has figured this out better than the New York Times. Here's a video segment from the Times featuring Jerry Seinfeld.
What does the future hold in store for newspapers? My only hope is that people will recognize the importance of putting a little money down on the counter, or more realistically on the card to support responsible, professional journalism with an online subscription. Reading what a 16 year old kid has written for free in his blog is not what I want to base my purchasing, entertainment or voting decisions on.
With over 30 years experience, Tim McLarty currently works out of Toronto Canada as a writer/voice performer, producer and media strategist producing advertising and entertainment content.