Symbolic splits from mainstream media

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Brand Republic talked about how Carat was no longer including Maxim as part of its media buying plans for clients following circulation declines. Carat withdraws ads from Maxim:

Dominic Williams, press director at Carat, said: ‘They are not investing in the magazine, so why should we?’

The title’s circulation tanked 44.5% to 43,542, representing a year-on-year decline of almost 60%.

A key question is where are all those readers going? As Maxim’s numbers are the most extreme decline in a battered sector. Men’s lifestyle magazines in general have been suffering from a declining readership.

Nicola Clark wrote about how the economic downturn had made mainstream media inventory a buyers market in Media agencies pressure magazine brands during downturn.

‘It’s a buyer’s market and magazines are really struggling,’ warns Dominic Williams, press director at Carat. ‘Magazines such as Heat, which were so bullish on rates when their circulations were rising, will now see Aegis coming down on them like a ton of bricks.’ Carat estimates that the press market as a whole will be down by between 10% and 12% this year.

As in the television market, a growing number of brands are holding back their spend to capitalise on their investment. John Ryan, deputy press director at OMD, says that publishers are facing up to some really tricky negotiations and rebates on retrospective agreements.

In common with much of the market, Ryan has held back on committing to long-term deals. ‘Brands will get more value if their agency is flexible and can drive deals through at the last minute,’ he says. In short, advertisers are getting more for their money.

It was interesting to see the lack of a mention of how online may be affecting the mix on marketing spend.

Over at the Wall Street Journal Suzanne Vranica wrote GM Won’t Buy Advertising Time For 2009 Oscars about the US parent of Vauxhall/Opel General Motors moving spend away from advertising, sponsorship and experiential marketing around the Oscars to more targeted techniques.

While GM has been under pressure to save money, the company has also been aggressively shifting ad dollars to digital marketing, such as search-related ads, and away from traditional media, according to people close to the company. They add that GM is looking to put a larger share of its ad dollars into media that offer a measurable return on its investment.

It will be interesting to see how this affects PR, will it mean that publications look for more advertorial content and will clients demand a greater burden of proof for ROI? Will there be cross-discipline benchmarking around ROI? It looks like now is the good time to be building integrated online and offline integrated brand communications plans from a PR perspective. Advertising agency-style planning will be crucial in this process.