24 November 2005

Edelman on where PR needs to go to survive

PR mogul Richard Edelman:

"The most striking development for our industry must be the fundamental shifts occurring in media. Here are a few statistics:

Every dollar coming out of print advertising revenue for newspapers is replaced by only 33 cents online.

The largest 50 Web companies are attracting 96% of the ad spending online ... with the majority going to AOL, Google, MSN and Yahoo. The hottest genre of Web advertising is 15 second commercials that run before online videos on sites such as WebMD.

An estimated 9.5 million homes in the US now have TiVo or another digital video recorder. According to a study by CBS, 64% of DVR users skip all ads and an additional 26% skip through most ads. The number of homes with DVRs is expected to triple in the next five years.

An estimated 24 million homes in the US now have access to video on demand.

Publishing companies are moving away from free content towards a subscription model on the Internet. The New York Times has put its very popular columnists (Tom Friedman, Maureen Dowd) into a paid format called TimesSelect costing $49.95 a year. There has been excellent response to this service, with 135,000 new subscribers in only two months.

Circulation for large American newspapers is down 2.5% in the third quarter versus a year ago, continuing a decade long slide. Erosion is particularly evident among younger consumers. As a result, there have been reductions in head count in the newsroom. The Philadelphia Inquirer just cut 5% of its reporters. According to today's New York Times (an article by David Carr), The Los Angeles Times announced cuts of 85 newsroom employees, while The Chicago Tribune side it was cutting 100 jobs across all departments.


Our traditional channels are under siege, yet there are more media options, particularly if one includes blogs. Here are a few suggestions for the next year:

1) Retrain our work force. PR should move away from 'pitching the story' mentality. We can be part of conversations on line. We have to be smart about our subject and careful with our facts because these discussions are always on the record.

2) Recognize the influence and credibility of blogs. David Kiley of Business Week wrote about Paramount Studios' success with a niche film, Hustle & Flow, which was promoted through music blogs and fan sites. Thirty five percent of moviegoers said they were motivated to see the film through discussions on line.

3) Experiment. We should be working with video clips attached to press materials to make it easier for bloggers in consumer technology to create v-blogs. We should seek out innovative sponsorships with traditional media, including cross-platform content creation such as a discussion of real beauty, brought to you by Unilever's Dove. "

Read more in Richard Edelman - 6 A.M.

Keep in touch! Sign up to get updates and occasional emails from me.

No comments: