National circulation figures for March show a 5% year-on-year decline across the total daily market.
With a 7% year on year fall, the Sunday newspaper market suffered an even greater decline in circulation figures.
There were a few success stories, with both the FT and the Daily Record increasing in circulation since February. The Independent on Sunday also increased its circulation since February – the only Sunday newspaper to do so.
While also seeing a month-on-month decline, the i (lunched only last October) posted figures of 171,415 – significantly up on its launch distribution of 133,472, and not far below the long-term target of 200,000. Whether these figures are a by-product of the i’s novelty factor and launch advertising campaign, or an indication of long-term success based on intelligent content and a minimal 20p price tag, remains to be seen.
Elsewhere, the March results show no real surprises. Despite posting the biggest actual loss in the quality market with a year-on-year decline of 60,000, the Daily Telegraph remains the top-selling title in its category. The Times had the largest drop in its YoY circulation as a percentage with a huge 11.2%.
The Daily Mail continued to enjoy a massive lead over its mid-market competitor, the Daily Express, with a fairly minor 2% YoY drop in sales. With the Mail online now the second largest global online newspaper in the world after The New York Times, things are looking good for Associated Newspapers Ltd.
Of the popular titles, The Sun suffered the biggest actual loss, yet remaining the top-selling daily title with a total circulation of more than 2.8 million.
National Newspapers – March 2011 – ABC figures
||YoY actual change
||POP actual change
|National Newspapers – Quality
|Independent On Sunday
|National Newspapers – Mid-market
|Mail On Sunday
|National Newspapers – Popular
|News Of The World
|Daily Star Sunday
|London Evening Standard
Could ‘Big-Brother’ Warning Prove a Plus-Point for Online Advertising?
Major online media owners across Europe have begun running an ‘Advertising Option Icon’ on or near their behavioural advertising sites. This icon, shown below, will provide consumers with further information on behavioural advertising and will allow web-users to opt-out of behavioural advertising via a new pan-European website.
Completely voluntary, the self-regulatory initiative – launched by IAB Europe last Monday – comes ahead of revisions to the EU’s Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive on May 25th. The amended directive will require all online businesses in the UK that collect, store and use data about website users to gain explicit user consent.
Media owners are understandably concerned that any radical pre-advert notification (a flash-up warning for example), could put-off users, and therefore advertisers. They are therefore hoping that this initiative, with its more subtle approach, will fulfil the criteria to be laid down by the directive, preventing any more extreme, potentially user-blocking measures, being implemented.
As well as warding-off any over-zealous EU policy, could this new initiative also have a positive result for online advertising? This initiative will let users have a choice when it comes to behavioural targeting, and give a transparency and an explanation previously unavailable unless one specifically searched for it. By providing an explanation into how and why behavioural targeting works, it will also highlight how behavioural advertising can be beneficial to users, complementing their online experience.
If so, this initiative can only be good news for online advertisers, as the trust and engagement users afford to online advertising increases, resulting – hopefully for the media owners – in an increase in online advertising spend.
Spots v. Stripes. Message v. Medium
Seven months in, and commentators are beginning to raise doubts as to the success of Cadbury’s ongoing ‘Spots v Stripes’ campaign, criticising the over-emphasis on social media participation to the detriment of a strong product-driven message.
Indeed, it is understood that the campaign has been criticised internally at the Kraft-owned brand for failing to engage consumers, with Cadbury searching for a digital agency to optimise the current campaign in the run-up to London 2012.
Taking advantage of its £2m plus, two-tier sponsorship of the Olympic Games, Cadbury rolled out the ‘Games’ themed, social-media heavy campaign last August. Moving away from its more traditional recent and not-so-recent campaigns (‘a glass-and-a-half'; drumming gorilla etc.) the entire campaign is built around social media and brand participation.
Essentially, the idea is to drive people to the social media website, where they can join either ‘spots’ or ‘stripes’ and win ‘points’ for their respective teams either through online, or indeed offline, ‘games’.
Some commentators have suggested that this social-media centric campaign is confusing, in particular isolating the large percentage of Cadbury’s potential customers with little or no engagement with social media whatsoever (62% of the British population do not use Facebook, and 89% are not on Twitter.) Others take issue with the execution of the campaign itself, suggesting that the social media element of the campaign overshadows a necessary emphasis on the product itself.
‘It’s important not to get ahead of yourself and think about the social media element, as that is classic tail wagging the dog,’ says Craig Inglis, director of marketing at John Lewis. ‘You should not let the channel dictate the communication. Start with the big idea, then the media channel comes second.’
In this case, the ‘big idea’ seems to be the medium itself.
For while Cadbury does in fact use traditional media, this traditional media also seems to largely serve as a tool to drive consumers to participate in the social media aspects. The TV advert for example – featuring competing sea-creatures – does not so much focus on the product, but on the campaign itself, ending with a call-to-action to visit their social media site.
‘In a theme common among today’s social media campaigns,’ says Mark Ristson of Marketing Week, ‘Cadbury’s integrated mix does not exist to build brand or drive sales, but rather increase Facebook followers.’
Such a big-budgeted social-media focused campaign is a new phenomenon in the advertising world, and with 458 days until the Games begin, and a new digital agency on the horizon, it remains to be seen whether Spots v Stripes will be a warning or a role-model in the advertising world.