Blue Screen Of Duds

Where the alter ego of codelust plays

Online versus print advertising: A different perspective

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I do not normally buy magazines. The only time I tend to read them are when friends leave them behind or when I am flying and have nothing better to do other than to flip through one.

This is partly because in the past ten years, the quality of magazines (in terms of writing and coverage) has really gone down the drain. I don’t read a magazine to know what is happening or what has happened. I read a magazine for insight and deeper coverage than what a newspaper or a website will normally provide me and most magazines just don’t do that these days.

In the past couple of weeks, out of sheer curiosity, I happened to pick up two magazines hawked by kids at the traffic lights to see what was it that I could possibly have been missing out on. And to be honest, it felt not very different from the online experience in accessing content.

Most of the upmarket magazines (business, lifestyle and entertainment) have advertisements every second or third page and the only difference between the different segments seem to be in the brands that are associated with them.

Now, it is a well-known fact that the price at which any print publication sells these days is not enough to cover even the printing costs and that the difference is mostly made up through these massive advertising.

But what is interesting is that the same approach, of subsidizing production costs through advertising, when used in an online environment gets the goat of almost everyone.

Let us do a comparison:

  1. Standard spot banners online features prominently in print as single column or double column advertisements.
  2. Interstitials are present in print as full page advertisements. You need to flip or click through to get to the content.
  3. Shoshkeles are also present in print as the newfangled covers that wrap around the original cover.
  4. Cobranded sections/pages are also found quite frequently in print.

Curiously, the direct cost associated with buying a magazine or a newspaper is much more obvious than what it is compared to accessing a website. In doing the latter you are probably paying only your ISP, but the irritation quotient is much higher with online advertising than it is with advertising in print.

I can’t put my finger on this one, but what really does give here? Is it that you can ‘own’ a publication you bought, compared to a web page which is never yours? Or is it the heightened levels of interaction (or irritation?) that is to blame here?

Written by shyam

December 20, 2007 at 7:27 pm

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