Print, TV Ads Still Powerful in Swaying Consumers: Survey
MediaPost: "According to a recent survey of more than 1,000 consumers in the U.S. by business-to-business ratings and reviews firm Clutch, ads influence 90% of consumers to make a purchase, and many are doing so after seeing or hearing an ad on TV (60%), in print (45%), online (42%) and on social media. 'Whether consumers like it or not, they’re influenced by advertising,” Kristen Herhold, content developer and marketer at Cluch... Millennials (81%) are much more likely to be influenced by advertising than Baby Boomers (57%), who have generally already set their brand affinity and buying patterns. "Because millennials are more open to new products and brands, [they can] be more easily persuaded," Herhold says. Consumers are also more likely to trust traditional platforms like TV and print.. Even millennials...still give a lot of credence influence to traditional media like TV and print (trusted by 64% of millennials) over online and social (trusted by only 51%)... 83% of consumers with household incomes over $100,000 were more likely to make a purchase as a result of an ad, vs. only 68% with household incomes of less than $50,000. This may be because higher-income families can afford to be less concerned with where their money goes and are more willing to take a risk on a new, untried product, Herhold says."
Charlie Sheen Sues National Enquirer
TMZ, citing court documents, reports that actor Charlie Sheen is suing the National Enquirer and Dylan Howard, chief content officer of American Media Inc.'s Celebrity Group, for defamation and false light, based on a Nov. 8 Enquirer article claiming that a then 19-year-old Sheen raped then 13-year old co-star Corey Haim when they were filming the movie "Lucas" back in the 1980s. Sheen is also suing actor Dominick Brascia, who was quoted in the article as saying Haim told him about the alleged rape, reports TMZ.
Article Alleges Brands Secretly Pay Writers for Mentions in Well-Known Online Sites
Jon Christian, writing in The Outline, reports that its "interviews with more than two dozen marketers, journalists, and others familiar with...pay-for-play offers revealed a dubious corner of online publishing in which publicists, ranging from individuals...to medium-sized 'digital marketing firms' that blur traditional lines between advertising and public relations, quietly pay off journalists to promote their clients in articles that make no mention of the financial arrangement." Reached for comment, editors or spokespersons for sites including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Business Insider and HuffPost stressed that they have clear, zero-tolerance policies prohibiting such activities. Christian reports that "a Forbes spokesperson declined to answer questions about how many contributors the site has, whether they’re ever paid, or whether an editor reviews their work before publication," among other questions, but also reports that the spokesperson said that before they can contribute to Forbes, writers must sign contracts requiring them to disclose any conflicts of interest.
Opinion: 3 Fault Lines Redrawing the U.S. Media Business
Writing in Nieman Lab, media analyst Ken Doctor argues that three powerful forces are redrawing the US. media business: the absolute value of scale, with ownership of each media segment, including TV, newspapers and magazines,heavily dominated by fewer than a handful of companies; the Google/Facebook duopoly and its collateral impacts (their domination of ad revenues is exposing fault lines in business models for sites including Buzzfeed and HuffPost); and the end of most strictures on who can own what, "driven by the runaway train of Federal Communications Commission de-regulation."
The Economist Has 16 People Focused on Circ Retention
Digiday: "The Economist has set a goal of doubling its circulation profits by 2020. To do that, it needs to grow digital subscriptions, which number about 350,000 out of a total circulation of 1.5M, and keep subscribers from canceling because replacing canceled subscribers is expensive. At the head of this effort is Anna Rawling, EVP of customer experience and product strategy for The Economist. 'The journey started about three years ago,' Rawling said. “We became more focused on circulation and driving subscriptions with an overriding focus on profitability rather than volume. Prior to that, we had profitability targets, but it was more of a volume play to support advertising.”Rawling has 32 people who report to her, and half of them focus on retention. Once people have subscribed to The Economist for a year, they tend to retain well. But a lot has to happen in between. Their work focuses on nitty-gritty things like the right number of times to contact subscribers when they’re at risk of canceling (four if they’re set up to auto-renew their subscription with a credit card and 12 if they’re not on auto-renew) and figuring out how frequently people need to read to keep them renewing..."
Why Hearst Magazines Is Expanding Product Licensing
Digiday: "Publishers need to play to their strengths when diversifying revenue streams. For lifestyle magazine brands like Hearst Magazines UK, this means co-creating branded products that it knows its loyal audiences want. Product licensing is becoming an increasingly important part of its business.Revenue from product licensing makes up 5 percent of Hearst’s total revenue, a growth of 30% from 2014, according to the publisher. Given the growing interest in product licensing from Hearst’s ad partners, the publisher expects this to reach between 15 and 20% over the next three years. This revenue doesn’t include the additional revenue that Hearst could also get from promoting the products through its media channels. In the U.K., Hearst has around 25 different product deals at the moment, including flower bouquets designed by Country Living, a variety of carpets by House Beautiful and gym equipment by Men’s Health. 'Licensing is supposed to do two things: sell products and give the manufacturer a long-term strategic association with our brand--that’s gold dust,' said Duncan Chater, chief brand officer of luxury, young women, fitness and health at Hearst Magazines UK.Product licensing is nothing new. Hearst has dabbled in it for years, but a cluttered media landscape, plus dwindling ad revenues, has renewed its appeal: Manufacturers want their products to seem authentic, and magazine brands make a product seem more relevant to a consumer... While taking a year to finalize a contract is a big change from selling advertising, the obvious benefit is that deals last longer. Hearst has worked with sofa retailer DFS for seven years. For DFS, exclusive brand partnerships with House Beautiful, Country Living and French Connection have delivered a 35 percent growth in bookings in 2016, an increase of 75% from 2015, according to the retailer’s annual report. Men’s Health conducted research that found that 70 percent of readers are the primary food buyers at home, making the decision to create Men’s Health-branded food products targeted at the audience seem low risk. Hearst’s product licensing deals can originate from the publisher noticing a gap in the market or from brands and manufacturers approaching it..."
Congress Urged To Pass New Online Privacy Laws
MediaPost: "The recent data breach at Equifax demonstrates that existing laws don't enable consumers to protect their private information, advocacy group Public Knowledge says.The organization is calling for Congress to pass new laws based on a set of general privacy principles, including the idea that people should be able to control personal information about themselves. 'Consumers should not need to choose between living in 21st century society and keeping private the basic facts about their personal lives and habits,' Public Knowledge writes in a paper released Friday. The group adds that current digital privacy law was developed 20 years ago, when policymakers assumed that people who wanted to protect their privacy could avoid the web and live in an 'analog world'"...
Agencies That Use Tag Partners See Fraud Plunge
Ad Age: "In what it calls a 'monumental' breakthrough, the Trustworthy Accountability Group says its method can cut online ad fraud by more than 83%. TAG, an association of ad-industry trade groups, worked with ad buyers at GroupM, IPG Mediabrands and Horizon Media and the metrics firms Moat, Integral Ad Science and DoubleVerify to scrutinize 6.5B display and video ad impressions on TAG-certified distribution channels from July through October. They estimated the so-called invalid traffic—typically bots simulating humans to run up bills on automated ad platforms--at 97M, or 1.48%. To put that number in perspective, the industry average for invalid traffic across display and video is 12%, TAG says. The results are valid, according to John Montgomery, global executive VP of brand safety at GroupM, the world's largest buyer of advertising on behalf of marketers..."
OTHER NEWS OF NOTE:
Amazon Slows Hiring in Seattle
Seattle Times: "Amazon’s hiring boom is cooling off. Seattle’s largest employer appears to be seeking the smallest number of new employees in the city in years after a feverish, four-year growth spurt that more than doubled its head count. Open job postings at its HQ, which stood at more than 9,000 as recently as June, have declined sharply and steadily in the last few months. The company was seeking 3,503 workers in Seattle on Friday, the lowest since 2014 among periodic snapshots tracked by The Seattle Times, as well as archived web pages... Spokesperson Teal Pennebaker said Amazon is continuing to hire for thousands of positions across the company, and didn’t offer a specific reason for the drop in open positions in Seattle. The company’s HQ is home to more than 40,000 of the 541,900 worldwide employees Amazon reported in its most recent quarterly filing. 'We are constantly evaluating hiring needs to ensure we’re dedicating resources efficiently and effectively,” Pennebaker said... 'So it’s common for there to be fluctuations in head count as we grow at different rates across businesses'"...
Expert: 'Seismic' Growth of Digital Driven by Center Store
SN: "E-commerce is experiencing “seismic” growth, and center store products such as pet food are largely to thank, according to Jordan Rost, vice president of consumer insights at Nielsen. While hosting the “What’s in Store 2018” seminar on Thursday, Rost explained that as digital shopping becomes more mainstream, shelf-stable items are particularly primed for e-commerce purchasing.Nielsen found that both dog food and cat food have seen 92.2% and 63.2% e-commerce growth, respectively, over the past year. Just over 18% of all dog food sales come from digital shopping, while nearly 13% of consumers turn to the online marketplace when it’s time to feed their felines.Rost pointed to the convenience of automated replenishment as an e-commerce driver in this category because pet owners can schedule deliveries in advance for when supplies are projected to be running low... Pet food is not alone. 59% of shoppers have bought health related products online at some point in their lives and 44% have done so over the last three months.Hand and body lotion and facial cleansers and moisturizers have seen 3.2% and 6.8% growth, respectively, in digital over the past year. 22% of consumers shopped online for general grocery products as a whole within the previous three months and 32% have done so in the past..."
Food Lion Celebrates 60 Years
PG: "To mark its 60th anniversary on Dec. 12, Food Lion will randomly select customers to win 60 percent off their purchase at each of the Ahold Delhaize banner’s 1,000-plus stores, as well as giving shoppers an opportunity to win $10 gift cards. On the same day, grocer will also hold a time capsule ceremony, featuring mementos submitted by stores across its 10-state footprint, at its Salisbury, N.C., HQ at 11 am..."
Home Depot in $15B Buyback
Washington Post: "With unemployment low and demand for new homes high, a company like Home Depot could be spending most of its surplus billions on raises for workers or the rollout of new stores.Instead, the world’s largest home improvement chain this week announced that it is using $15 billion to buy back shares of its own stock, a move that will reward shareholders including chief executive Craig Menear and other top executives.Even as lawmakers on Capitol Hill began hammering out the final version of a tax cut designed to give businesses more money to invest, Home Depot’s statement was a reminder that corporate America may have other plans for that cash. Several companies already have indicated that they will use excess funds to pay off debt, increase dividend payments or repurchase their own shares rather than create new jobs or raise wages. On Wall Street, the consensus is that workers will be last in line behind shareholders, creditors and investment bankers when the extra corporate cash is distributed..."
OTHER NEWS OF NOTE: