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Chapter Overview
This chapter continues the analysis of the major media of advertising by examining the two primary types
of print media—magazines and newspapers. The characteristics of each medium are examined including
the different types of magazines and newspapers and their advantages and limitations as advertising
media. Attention is given to audience measurement for magazines and newspapers, their rate structures
and the purchase of advertising space in each. The discussion of each medium concludes with a
discussion of future developments that will influence their role and the nature of magazines and
newspapers as advertising media.
Learning Objectives
1. To examine the structure of the magazine and newspaper industries and the role of each medium in
the advertising program.
2. To examine the advantages and limitations of magazines and newspapers as advertising media.
3. To examine the various types of magazines and newspapers and the value of each as an advertising
4. To examine how advertising space is purchased in magazines and newspapers, how readership is
measured, and how rates are determined.
5. To consider future developments in magazines and newspapers and how these trends will influence
their use as advertising media.
Chapter and Lecture Outline
Magazines and newspapers have been in existence as advertising media for more than two centuries and
until the 1920s were the only major media available to advertisers. Despite the growth and competition of
the broadcast media, newspapers and magazines have remained important to both their readers and
advertisers. Magazines have become a highly specialized medium that reaches specific target audiences in
both the consumer and business markets. Newspapers are still the largest advertising medium in terms of
both ad revenue and number of advertisers and are particularly important to local advertisers. Advertising
revenue is extremely important to magazines and newspapers as few, if any, could survive without it.
The role of magazines and newspapers differs from broadcast media in that they are high-involvement
media which allow the presentation of detailed information that can be processed at the readers’ own
pace. However, the characteristics of each medium, their advantages and limitations as advertising media
vehicles, and their role in the media mix are quite different.
Professor Notes
Magazines serve the educational, informational, and entertainment needs and interests of a wide range of
readers in both the consumer and business markets. Magazines rank second only to television as a
medium for national advertisers. There has also been a tremendous growth in business publications as
their number has grown to more than 7,000. While some magazines are general mass-appeal publications,
most are targeted to very specific types of audiences in both the consumer and business markets.
Classifications of Magazines—A useful way of classifying magazines is provided by Standard
Rate and Data Service (SRDS), which divides the publications into three broad categories based
on the audience to which they are directed.
1. Consumer magazines—those that are bought by the general public for information and/or
entertainment. SRDS divides more than 2,700 consumer magazines into 75 classifications or
groupings such as general interest, sports, travel, and women’s. Consumer magazines
represent the major portion of the magazine industry in terms of advertising revenue.
2. Farm publications—the second major SRDS category consists of magazines direct to
farmers. There are approximately 300 publications targeted to nearly every possible type of
farming or agricultural interest. These are broken down into 11 classifications ranging from
general-interest magazines for all types of farmers to those in specialized agricultural areas.
3. Business publications—these are magazines or trade journals that are published for specific
businesses, industries, or occupations. Major categories of business publications include those
directed to specific professional groups, industrial magazines directed to various
manufacturing and production industries, trade magazines, and general-business publications.
Advantages of Magazines
1. Selectivity—Magazines are the most selective of all media except direct mail. Most
magazines are published for special interest groups or activities.
2. Reproduction quality—magazines are generally printed on high-quality paper stock and sue
printing processes that provide excellent reproduction in black and white or color.
3. Creative flexibility—Some magazines offer a variety of special options that can enhance the
creative appeal of the ad and increase attention and readership. Examples include gatefolds,
bleed pages, inserts, pop-ups, and creative space buys such as half or quarter page ads.
4. Permanence—Magazines are often kept for reference and/or read over several days. One
benefit of the longer life of magazines is that reading occurs at a less hurried pace and there is
more opportunity to examine ads in considerable detail.
5. Prestige—Companies whose products rely heavily on perceived quality, reputation, and/or
image often buy space in prestigious publications with high-quality editorial content whose
consumers have a high level of interest in the advertising pages.
6. Consumer receptivity and involvement—Magazines are generally purchased because the
information they contain interests the reader, and ads provide additional information that may
be of value in making a purchase decision. As shown in Figure 12-2, consumers consider
magazines to be the primary source of information for a variety of products and services.
7. Services—Some magazines have merchandising staff that call on trade intermediaries like
retailers to let them know a product is being advertised.
Disadvantages of Magazines
1. Costs— The absolute cost of advertising in large mass-circulation magazines like TV Guide ,
Time or People can be very expensive, particularly for popular positions such as back covers.
2. Limited reach and frequency—The percentage of adults reading any individual publication
tends to be much smaller, so magazines have a thin penetration of households. Thus,
companies who want to reach mass markets have to buy space in a number of magazines.
3. Long lead time—Most major publications have a 30- to a 90-day lead time, which means
space must be purchased and the ad must be prepared well in advance of the actual
publication date.
4. Clutter and competition for readers’ attention—Clutter is a problem for magazines as the
average consumer magazine contains ads on 45 percent of its pages while some publications
contain as much as 70 percent. The clutter problem for magazines is something of a paradox:
the more successful a magazine becomes, the more advertising pages it attracts, which leads
to greater clutter.
Professor Notes
Magazine Circulation and Readership—Two of the most important considerations in deciding
whether to utilize a magazine in the media plan are the size and characteristics of the audience
reached by the publication. Important considerations include the circulation of the publication as
well as its total readership.
1. Circulation—circulation figures represent the number of individuals who receive a
publication, either through subscription or store purchase. The number of copies distributed
to original subscribers or purchasers is known as primary circulation and is used as the basis
for the magazine’s rate structure. Many publications base their rates on guaranteed
circulation and provide rebates if the number of delivered magazines fall below the
a. Circulation verification—these services are provided by several companies to ensure
circulation figures for magazines are accurate. Consumer magazines and farm
publications are audited by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) while certain
business publications are audited by the Business Publications Audit (BPA) of
2. Readership and total audience—in addition to primary circulation figures, advertisers may be
interested in the number of people that a publication reaches as a result of secondary or passalong readership. Total audience or readership of a magazine can be determined by taking
the readers per copy and multiplying this figure by the circulation of an average issue.
Audience Research for Magazines—Media planners are interested in the match between a
magazine’s readers and the advertiser’s target audience. Information on readers' demographic,
lifestyle and product usage characteristics are available from studies conducted by the magazines
themselves as well as from syndicated research studies. The primary sources of information
concerning magazine audiences are:
 Standard Rate and Data Service (SRDS)
 Simmons Market Research Bureau’s Study of Media and Markets
 Mediamark Research, Inc. (MRI)
These studies provide a broad range of information on the audiences of major national and
regional magazines including demographic, lifestyle characteristics, and product purchase and
usage data. Audience information for business publications is generally more limited than for
consumer magazines.
Purchasing Magazine Advertising Space—While magazine rates are primarily a function of the
circulation of the publication, rates will vary in response to a number of other variables including
size of the ad, position, particular editions chosen (geographic, demographic), any special
mechanical or production requirements and the number and frequency of insertion.
Advertising space is generally sold on the basis of space units such as full page, half page and
quarter page, although some publications quote rates on the basis of column inches. Ads can be
produced in black and white, black and white plus one color or four colors. Magazine networks
offer the advertiser the opportunity to buy space in a group of publications in a package deal. Rate
comparisons for magazines are generally made on the basis of the cost per thousand (CPM)
criterion, which was discussed in detail in Chapter 10.
The Future of Magazines—The magazine industry continues to grow in terms of the number of
both consumer and business publications. A continuation of the trend toward greater market
segmentation and micro target marketing should mean greater use of magazines by advertisers
because of their high selectivity.
There are several problems facing the magazine industry including increasing postal rates and
paper costs. The rates readers pay for magazines have increased significantly over the past decade
and it will be difficult to raise them any further. It also will be difficult to increase advertising
space rates because of the competition magazines face from one another and other media. Some
publications have begun negotiating rates with advertisers and the practice may become more
commonplace. Specific issues regarding the future of magazines that might be discussed include:
1. Stronger editorial platforms—Magazines with strong editorial platforms that appeal to the
interests, lifestyles, and demographics of consumers and market trends will have the best
chance of attracting readers and advertisers.
2. Circulation management—Circulation is becoming the major source of revenue for many
publications, and they must carefully consider the costs of attracting and maintaining
additional readers or subscribers.
3. Cross-magazines and media deals—Multimagazine deals involve two or more publishers
offering their magazines to an advertiser as one package. Many magazines are also making
cross-media advertising deals that include several different media opportunities from a single
company or a partnership of media providers.
4. Database marketing—Magazines are using advances in technology and database marketing to
divide their audiences on the basis of demographics, psychographics, or regions and to
deliver more personalized advertising messages.
5. Advances in technology—Selective binding and inkjet imaging make it possible to
personalize ads and offer ultra-narrow target marketing.
6. Online delivery methods—Some magazines are providing online versions of their
publications that offer the advantages of the Internet to publishers and subscribers. They can
integrate animation, video, audio, graphics, and text to provide an interactive medium. As
more magazines become available online the industry will have to address important issues
regarding audience measurement and readers’ exposure to and interactions with online
Professor Notes
Newspapers are the second major form of print media and represent the largest of all advertising media in
terms of total advertising volume. Newspapers are an especially important advertising medium to local
advertisers such as retailers. However newspapers can also be a valuable medium to national advertisers
as well.
Types of Newspapers—The vast majority of newspapers are daily publications serving a local
community. However, there are other types of newspapers that have special characteristics that
make them valuable to advertisers. Classifications of newspapers include:
1. Daily newspapers—published each weekday and found in larger cities and towns across the
country. Daily newspapers can further be classified as morning (52%) and evening (48%).
Many daily newspapers also publish Sunday editions.
2. Weekly newspapers—most weekly newspapers originate in small towns or suburbs where the
volume of news and advertising is not adequate to support a daily paper. Weeklies appeal
primarily to local advertisers in the community because of their limited geographic focus.
3. National newspapers—Newspapers in this with national circulation including The Wall
Street Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, and USA TODAY.
National newspapers appeal primarily to large national and regional advertisers who use
specific geographic editions. IMC Perspective 12-4 discusses the success of USA TODAY and
the battle to be the leading national newspaper.
4. Special-audience newspapers—there are a variety of papers that offer specialized editorial
content and are published for specific groups. Advertising Age is an example of a special
audience newspaper as are college newspapers.
5. Newspaper supplements—although not a category of newspapers per se, many papers include
magazine type supplements, primarily in their Sunday editions. These include syndicated
magazines such as Parade or USA Weekend as well as local supplements produced and
distributed by the paper itself.
Types of Newspaper Advertising—Advertising in newspapers can be divided into different
categories which include:
1. Display advertising—display ads are found throughout the paper and generally use
illustrations, headlines, white space and other visuals in addition to copy text. Display ads
account for approximately 70 percent of the advertising revenue of the average newspaper.
Display ads can be further classified as local or national/general advertising.
2. Classified advertising—classified ads are those arranged under subheads according to the
product, service, or offering being advertised and run in the classified section of the
newspaper. Major categories include employment, real estate, and automotive.
3. Special ads and inserts—special ads in newspapers include a variety of governmental and
financial reports and notices and public notices. Preprinted inserts do not appear in the paper
itself but are printed by the advertiser and then distributed with the newspaper. These include
circulars, catalogs, brochures and free standing inserts (FSIs) which are popular for
distributing coupons.
Professor Notes
Advantages of Newspapers
1. Extensive penetration—In most areas, 60 percent or more of households read a daily
newspaper, and the reach figure may exceed 70 percent among household with higher
incomes and education levels.
2. Flexibility—Newspapers are flexible in terms of requirement for producing and running the
ads and from the creative options they make available to advertisers.
3. Geographic selectivity—Advertisers can vary their coverage by choosing a paper that reaches
the areas with the greatest sales potential. Most major newspapers offer advertisers various
geographic or zone editions within their market.
4. Reader involvement and acceptance—An important feature of newspapers is consumers’
level of acceptance and involvement with the paper, including the ads it contains. Consumers
are generally very familiar with the various sections of the newspaper and knowledgeable
about the types of ads they contain.
5. Services offered—Many newspapers offer merchandising services and programs to
manufacturers that make the trade aware of ads being run for the company’s product and help
convince local retailers they should stock, display and promote the item.
Limitations of Newspapers
1. Poor reproduction quality—The coarse paper used for newspapers, the absence of color, and
the lack of time papers have available to achieve high-quality reproduction limits the quality
of most newspaper ads.
2. Short life span/hasty reading—Because a newspaper is generally kept for less than a day, an
ad is unlikely to have any impact beyond the day of publication and repeat exposure is
3. Lack of selectivity—While newspapers can offer advertisers geographic selectivity, they are
generally not a selective medium in terms of demographics or lifestyle characteristics. There
is some selectivity available, however, with regard to the type of consumers who read various
sections of the newspaper such as sports, business, entertainment, and travel.
4. Clutter—Because 64 percent of the average daily newspaper in the United States is devoted
to advertising, the advertiser’s message must compete with numerous other ads for
consumers’ attention and interest.
The Newspaper Audience—As with any medium, the media planner must understand the size and
characteristics of the audience reached by a newspaper. Basic sources of information concerning
the audience size of newspapers come from circulation figures available on newspaper rate cards,
on publisher’s statements, or through Standard Rate and Data Service’s Newspaper Rates and
Data. Newspaper circulation figures are generally reported for total circulation and three
additional categories including city zone, the retail trading zone, and all other areas.
1. Audience Information—circulation figures provide basic data for assessing newspaper
audience size and their ability to cover various market areas. Information on the circulation
and ad rates are available from SRDS Newspaper Rates and Data. Information on audience
size and characteristics are available from commercial research services such as Simmons
Market Research Bureau, Scarbough Research, and Mediamark Research, Inc., as well as
through studies conducted by the papers themselves.
Purchasing Newspaper Space—The cost of advertising space in newspapers depends not only on
the paper’s circulation but also on factors such as premium charges for color or special sections as
well as discounts available. Rates paid for newspaper space also differ for national versus local
1. General versus local rates— General advertising rates apply to display advertisers outside the
newspapers designated market area or to any classification deemed by the publisher to be
“general’ in nature. The rates paid by general advertisers are, on average, 75 percent higher
than those paid by local advertisers. Newspapers offer several reasons for the rate differential
including added costs of serving general advertisers, the method by which general
advertisers purchase ad space, and the inelastic nature of demand for national advertising
space. National advertisers who constitute most of the companies paying general rates do not
view these arguments as valid justification for the rate differential charged by newspapers.
Many marketers sidestep the higher rates by channeling their newspaper ads through special
category plans, cooperative advertising deals with retailers and local dealers and distributors.
2. Newspaper rates—Traditionally, newspaper space has been sold by the agate line system.
However, newspapers use page formats of varying width, which has created problems and
complicated the buying process for national advertisers. To address this problem and make
newspapers comparable to other media who sell space and time in standard units, the
newspaper industry developed standard advertising units (SAUs), which are used by about
90 percent of daily newspapers for national advertising rates. Rates for local advertisers
continue to be based on the column inch method.
3. Rate Structures—While the column inch and SAUs are used for determining basic newspaper
advertising rates, there are other options and factors which must be considered. Mention
should be made of flat rates versus open-rate structures, run-of-paper (ROP) versus
preferred position rates, and combination rates for using several newspapers as a group.
The Future of Newspapers—It is unlikely that newspapers’ importance as a local advertising
medium will change in the near future. However, newspapers will continue to battle for
advertising dollars from national advertisers as problems with reproduction quality and the rate
differential continue. Newspapers are concerned with competition from other media and the
increasing potential to lose advertising dollars to direct marketing and telemarketing. Local radio
and television stations (particularly cable) as well as the expanded market for yellow pages
advertising are also pursuing local advertisers who traditionally relied heavily on newspaper
advertising. The decline in readership of newspapers that has resulted from the fast-paced, timepoor lifestyle of the modern dual-income household and popularity of television is also a problem
worth discussing. Some specific issues regarding the future of newspapers that should be
discussed include:
Competition from other media such as direct mail, local radio and television, and the Internet.
Circulation management
Cross-media buys with other newspapers as well as magazines
Attracting and retaining readers, particularly younger people
Teaching Suggestions
This chapter is designed to provide the student with a general understanding of the two major types of
print media, magazines and newspapers. As with television and radio, it is important for students to
understand the general characteristics of magazines and newspapers including the different types or
classifications of each medium, their specific advantages and limitations as advertising media, how
readership is measured, and how rates are determined and advertising space is purchased. The instructor
should call students attention to the wide variety of magazines available and their ability to reach nearly
every consumer interest, lifestyle, and activity as well as most businesses. You might ask your students if
there is any segment of the consumer or business market that does not have one or more magazines
targeted towards it. One interesting point of discussion is whether there are too many magazines on the
market and whether it is possible for the highly specialized publications to survive. Students might also be
asked to find and discuss examples of magazines that are using selective binding and inkjet imaging to
target and personalize ads. A very interesting web site that you may want to visit for some interesting
information on magazines is that of the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA). Their site can be found
With regard to newspapers, it is important to stress their importance as an advertising medium for local
advertisers and also to discuss how national advertisers might be encouraged to allocate more of their
budgets to newspapers. Attention should also be given to the problem of declining newspaper readership,
particularly since the young generation of people in this country is very dependent on the broadcast media
and less likely to read a newspaper. You might ask students how many of them read a newspaper on a
daily basis and what particular sections they read. It is likely that many of them do not read a newspaper
regularly. The implications of this for advertisers can be discussed. The Newspaper Association of
America has an excellent web site that contains a great deal of information that can be helpful in
discussing trends and development affecting newspapers, both in general and as an advertising medium.
Their site can be found at
Answers To Discussion Questions
1. The vignette at the beginning of the chapter discusses how Rolling Stone magazine is undergoing
major changes to update its image and make it more appealing to a younger audience. Evaluate the
changes being made by Rolling Stone to reposition itself and the challenges the magazine faces in
trying to compete against other magazines that are targeting young adults.
Rolling Stone has made a number of changes to update its image and attract a younger audience. The
magazine has undergone a major redesign to update its image and make it easier to read. The redesign
includes the use of more sidebars and navigational aids. It has shorter articles, brighter colors, and
less serious news content. The Rock ‘n’ Roll section of the magazine has been expanded and new
subsections have been added which can be read more quickly. The Reviews section has also been
broadened to include movies, DVDs, video games, and music gadgetry. The New Releases section of
the magazine has also been expanded to make it more like Blender’s exhaustive review section. These
changes are designed to help make Rolling Stone more relevant to younger readers who have
migrated to other publications such as Spin, Vibe, Blender and “lad mags” such as Maxim, Stuff, and
FHM. While Rolling Stone is still popular with many of the baby boomers, members of the
Generation X and Gen Y age cohorts are not as familiar with the magazine and find it less relevant or
interesting than these other publications. Rolling Stone has to do a better job of reaching this new
generation of readers if it wants to maintain its circulation figures and continue to attract advertising
revenue from marketers who want to reach younger consumers who are into the music scene and
popular culture.
2. Discuss the role of newspapers and magazines in the development of an integrated marketing
communications program. What advantages are offered by each medium?
Magazines and newspapers play an important role as advertising media in an integrated marketing
communications program. They allow the presentation of detailed information that can be processed
at the receiver’s own pace whereas TV and radio are externally paced media which means the
receiver cannot control the rate at which the information is processed. Magazines are more suitable
than the broadcast media for delivering detailed ads with a great deal of information or visuals that
the reader needs time to study or examine. However, magazines are not as effective as television for
reaching mass audiences and they do not offer advertisers the same creative options that are available
through TV commercials. Newspapers are important to both national and local advertisers. They are
often used to reach consumers who are looking for information as to where they might purchase a
product locally and when it might be on sale at a local retailer.
There are numerous advantages of magazines as advertising media. These include their selectivity or
ability to reach specific target audiences, their reproduction quality, creative flexibility in terms of the
type, size and placement of advertising material, their permanence or long life span, the prestige
associated with advertising in some publications, consumer receptivity to and involvement with
magazine advertising, and the special services offered by some publications. Newspapers have a
number of advantages that make them popular among both local and national advertisers. These
include their extensive penetration or market coverage, their flexibility in terms of production
requirements and short closing times, the geographic or territorial selectivity of newspapers, the high
level of involvement and acceptance consumers have with newspapers and the advertisements therein,
and the valuable services many papers offer. Limitations of newspapers include their poor
reproduction quality, the short life span of daily papers, their lack of selectivity with respect to
demographics and lifestyle and the clutter problem that results from the vast number of ads in most
3. What is meant by selectivity with regard to the purchase of advertising media? Discuss some of the
ways magazines offer selectivity to advertisers.
Selectivity refers to the ability of an advertising media vehicle to reach a specific target audience.
Magazines provide selectivity to advertisers in a number of ways. Most magazines are published for
readers with specific interests and lifestyles or who are involved with or work in a specific profession,
business or area. Magazines also offer demographic and geographic selectivity. The editorial content
of various magazines generally appeals to specific demographic groups based on factors such as
gender, income, occupation, and education. Magazines also offer demographic selectivity through
special editions that are targeted at different demographic segments. Geographic selectivity is
possible as magazines can make it possible for advertisers to focus on certain cities or regions. This
can be done by advertising in a magazine that is targeted to a particular geographical area such as a
regional or city magazine. Geographic selectivity is can also be achieved in magazines by purchasing
ad space in specific geographic editions of national or regional magazines.
4. Choose a specific target market that an advertiser might want to reach. Discuss how magazines and/or
newspapers could be used to reach this particular market in a cost effective manner.
First of all it should be noted that selectivity is an inherent advantage of advertising in many
magazines. Most magazines are published for special-interest groups and allow advertisers to target
segments of the population that are of interest to them. In addition to selectivity based on interests or
topic, magazines can also provide demographic and geographic selectivity. This can be done through
editorial content as well as through special demographic and geographic editions offered by many
publications. Many magazines are also offering greater selectivity through processes such as selective
binding and ink jet imaging. Readers can be targeted by zip code, metropolitan area, region or
demographics. Students should be asked to choose a product or service targeted at a specific market
and discuss how magazines are an effective way to reach this group. They might even contact a
magazine and ask for a media kit which usually provides very detailed information on how the
magazine can reach specific target audiences and users of various products and services.
Newspapers offer the advantage of offering advertisers geographic selectivity since they can reach
areas or cities of specific interest to them. However, newspapers are not a selective medium in terms
of demographics or lifestyle characteristics. One way advertisers can increase selectivity of
newspapers is by advertising in certain sections of the paper such as the sports, food, entertainment or
business section. Within a local market area advertising in specific geographic or zone editions of a
paper can enhance selectivity. Many newspapers in large metropolitan areas offer zone editions so
local retailers can reach readers in their trading area. Again, students might be encouraged to contact
a local newspaper (even the college paper) and request a media kit or information on advertising
rates. They should analyze how effective the newspaper is at reaching a target market for a specific
product or service.
5. IMC Perspective 12-1 discusses the challenges marketers targeting products and services to the young
male market face in trying to reach this segment. Why do you think teenage males are such a difficult
market to reach with magazines? Do you think a magazine such as Stance will be successful in
appealing to the teen male market?
The teen male market is a very difficult market segment to reach through magazines as this group
spends a lot of their free time socializing with friends, listening to radio or CDs, watching television,
and surfing the Internet. Many older teens also have a part-time job which means they have less free
time to devote to reading magazines. Another reason for the low readership of magazines among
young males is that there really are not that many publications that are of interest to this group. Older
teens may be interested in some of the “lad mags” such as Gear, Maxim, Stuff and FHM as these
publications do cover many of the things of interest to teenage boys. Stance, which debuted in 2000,
covers many of these topics such as girls, action sports, video games, cars, music, and exotic things to
do and places to go. The editorial format of Stance may be successful in attracting young male
readers which in turn will attract a variety of advertisers trying to reach this elusive market.
6. Discuss why many companies such as Nike, Kodak, Ford, Ikea and others are choosing to publish
their own custom magazines. Do you think these custom publications are an effective way to reach
their customers?
Some companies publish their own magazines because they are a very good way to provide detailed
information to their customers. The company controls all of the editorial content in a custom
magazine and thus can provide readers with what ever type of information they feel is appropriate
and, of course, is beneficial to the company. A custom magazine such as Nikegoddess is valuable to a
company such as Nike since it allows the company to showcase its women’s products as well as
provide other information to women on topics such as fitness, lifestyle and travel. Companies such as
Kodak can provide information to consumers such as tips on how to take better pictures Custom
magazines allow these companies such as Sony to provide readers with advertising as well as other
forms of information in a manner that is more cost effective than media advertising. Philip Morris
may have other reasons for being interested in custom magazines. A publication such as Unlimited:
Action, Adventure, Good Times is a way for the company to target young men who are smokers and
create an editorial environment that is consistent with the masculine image the company uses to
advertise some of its cigarettes such as the various Marlboro brands. Tobacco companies are also
facing the possibility of having the type of advertising they use in traditional magazines restricted and
they may be trying to establish their custom magazine as an alternative way of reaching smokers.
Some people in the publishing industry are very critical of custom magazines and refer to them as
phony publishing because they are controlled entirely by the advertiser and sometimes represent
themselves as independent publications. The basis of the criticism stems from the fact that the
companies who publish the magazines also control the editorial content and thus can write articles
that are biased in favor of the company and its products or services. If consumers are not aware of the
fact that the company publishes the custom magazine, they may interpret this favorable information
as coming from a neutral, objective source and thus attribute more credibility to the stories. On the
other hand, if the companies make it clear to consumers that they are publishing the custom
magazines and they still choose to read them, then it is difficult to criticize them.
7. If you were buying magazine advertising space for a manufacturer of golf clubs such as TaylorMade
or Callaway, what factors would you consider? Would your magazine selection of magazines be
limited to golf publications? Why or why not?
In purchasing magazine space to advertise golf clubs, the media planner would obviously want to
know what publications are best suited for reaching golfers and their advertising space rates.
Consideration should also be given to the amount of advertising for golf equipment that appears in
these publications and the problem of getting the company’s ad noticed among all the competing ads.
Many marketers of golf clubs equipment limit their advertising to publications that focus specifically
on this market such as Golf or Golf Digest since virtually all of the readers of these publications are
golfers and there would be very little, if any, wasted circulation. They might also advertise in
magazines that reach members of golfing associations such as Golf Journal, which is published by
the United States Golf Association, or publications of various regional golfing associations.
Consideration also has to be given to the number of golfers who may be viable prospects for golf
clubs and equipment but do not read any of these golfing publications. To broaden its reach, the
company might want to look at other magazines that reach golfers such as general sports publications
(e.g., Sports Illustrated), travel magazines, or other publications that reach this age and lifestyle
group. A problem the company faces in advertising in these general publications is that of wasted
circulation as many of the readers may not be golfers. Thus, advertising in general sports or travel
magazines may not be as cost-effective as the more narrowly targeted golf publications.
8. Discuss how the use of newspapers as an advertising medium would differ for national versus local
advertisers. Find examples of newspaper advertising used by a national and a local advertiser and
evaluate the type of ad used by each.
Newspapers have become primarily a local advertising medium as nearly 85 percent of newspaper
revenue comes from local advertising. However, more than $6 billion is spent in newspapers each
year by national advertisers. Much of this money is spent in national newspapers such as USA Today,
The Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor and New York Times. However, national
advertisers advertise in local newspapers, particularly the larger metropolitan publications that reach
the top 50 or 100 markets. Automobile companies, movie studios, and national retailing chains are
heavy users of newspaper advertising as consumers rely on newspapers to get timely information
about these product/service categories. Many national advertisers are using newspapers more since
advancements have been made that make it easier and less expensive to use four-color for newspaper
ads. To attract more business from national advertisers, newspapers must sell them on the advantages
of advertising in newspapers. They have to point out the various advantages of advertising in
newspapers such as extensive penetration, geographic selectivity and reader involvement and
acceptance. They also need to coordinate promotional programs between national advertisers and
local retailers to encourage them to use newspapers more. Newspapers must convince them of the
value of advertising in their publications and work to improve relations with national advertisers.
Newspapers need to become more flexible to attract national advertisers. Some ideas may include
guaranteeing specific positions in newspapers in multiple markets, offering creative space options
such as “island ads” amidst stock tables, and making color more readily available and less expensive.
Newspapers also need to simply the purchasing process for national advertisers, which is why the
Newspaper Association of America formed the Newspaper National Network that is discussed on
page 423. The NNN’s goal is to attract more advertising revenue from national advertisers in six lowuse categories by promoting the strategic use of newspapers and facilitating the purchase of
newspaper space in a number of different papers with their one order/one bill model.
Local advertisers account for the vast majority of newspaper advertising as the medium is used
heavily by retailers in a variety of product and service categories. Local retailers know that
consumers rely heavily on newspapers for information regarding sales, special promotions, and to
determine availability of products and services. The value of newspapers as a source of information
is a major reason why they are used so heavily by local advertisers. Students should be encouraged to
find some ads used by a national advertiser such as an automobile company as well as some used by
local advertisers and compare them with regard to factors such as the type of message used, the
information provided and the use of price or other promotional incentives.
9. Discuss the reasons why USA Today has become the leading national newspaper. What challenges d0
other national newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times face in trying to
compete against USA Today for national advertising?
As discussed in IMC Perspective 12-4, USA Today has become the leading national newspaper with a
circulation of 2.2 million on Monday through Thursday and 2.6 million for its Friday weekend
edition. The growth of USA Today is due in large part to its popularity with business travelers who
like to catch up with national and business news as well as sports and entertainment news. USA
Today offers particularly thorough coverage of areas such as sports, entertainment and business news
and has also improved it coverage of general news in recent years with longer and more in-depth
coverage of many events. USA Today’s success is also a function of its distribution strategy which
reaches business as well as leisure travelers in places such as airports and hotel chains that provide the
newspaper as a service to their guests. USA Today has become a very popular source of information,
particularly for areas such as sports as readers look to the paper for thorough coverage of college and
professional sports as well as major sporting events.
The other national newspapers face stiff competition against USA Today for national advertising as it
attracts a broad target audience with more general interests. USA Today’s coverage of sports is
unmatched which makes the paper very appealing to the male business traveler as well as the male
audience in general. The Wall Street Journal is still viewed primarily as a business paper which
makes it of less interest to the general public while the New York Times has met the qualifications to
be classified as a national newspaper, is still viewed as more of a regional paper by many people.
10. Why has newspaper readership in the United States been declining over the past decade? Do you
think the campaigns such as the Newspaper Association of America’s “It all starts with newspapers”
can help reverse the decline in newspaper readership among young people.
Declining readership is a serious problem for newspapers, particularly among certain groups such as
young people and women. There are several reasons for the decline in circulation and readership
including the fast-paced, time-poor lifestyle of the modern dual-income household and competition
from other media such as television and the Internet There has been a tremendous increase in the
amount of news programming available on television through sources such as CNN, CNBC, MSNBC
and many other cable networks. Many local stations are now offering 24-hour broadcasts of their
news on local cable channels. There is also very thorough coverage of sports on television with
programs such as ESPN’s SportsCenter, a one hour sports news show that is aired numerous times
throughout the day. Many young people are very dependent upon the broadcast media rather than
newspapers. Moreover, if they do not see their parents reading a newspaper regularly, it is less likely
they will become regular readers. The obvious problem of the decline in readership is that newspapers
must lower their advertising rates if they attract fewer readers. Young people and women are very
important target audiences to advertisers since they are heavy users of many products and services. If
newspapers cannot reach these audiences on a regular basis, advertisers will turn to other media
vehicles that can such as radio or cable TV.
Newspapers are dealing with the problem of declining readership by making their papers more
interesting as well as faster and easier to read. Many papers are using better graphics and shorter
articles to attract readers and including special sections on travel, lifestyle, business and other topics
that will appeal to their readers. The newspaper industry is also attacking the problem with ads such
as those from the Newspaper Association of America’s campaign that promotes newspapers as
literacy tools. The campaign features popular celebrities who are likely to gain the attention of
parents and hopefully can deliver a persuasive message regarding the value of having children read a
newspaper everyday. The campaign can be effective because it is targeting parents and trying to get
them to encourage their children to read newspapers on a daily basis. The use of popular celebrities
with whom both the parent and child can identify may also help make the campaign successful.
Additional Discussion Questions (Not In Text)
11. Discuss how advertisers deal with the clutter problem in both magazines and newspapers.
Clutter is a serious problem in both magazines and newspapers as the ratio of advertising to editorial
content is very high in both. The main way for advertisers to deal with the clutter problem is through
creative advertising and space buys. Ads with strong visual images, catchy headlines and copy or very
creative approaches such as “pop-ups,” gatefolds, or special inserts are ways of breaking through the
clutter. Creative space buys such as “island ads” or consecutive page space buys may also help ads
get noticed. Of course it is also important to remember the basic advertising principle of developing
an ad that offers a benefit or promise to the readers and invites them to explore it further.
12. Explain why advertisers of products such as cosmetics or women’s clothing would choose to
advertise in a publication such as Vogue or Elle, which devote most of their pages to advertising
rather than articles.
The clutter level that results from the high number of advertising pages magazines such as Vogue or
Elle is clearly a problem for advertisers. However, they must weigh the clutter problem against the
fact that women are very likely to be receptive to ads for cosmetics or clothes in these publications. In
fact, one might argue that one of the reasons women buy fashion magazines such as Vogue or Elle is
to see the ads. For example, clothing ads give provide some insight into new styles and fashions and
will be of great interest to many of the magazines readers. Advertisers will tolerate the high number
of ads in these publications because they create a very favorable environment that includes high
quality photography and artwork as well as articles that are of interest to women.
13. Discuss how circulation figures are used in evaluating magazines and newspapers as part of a media
plan and setting advertising rates.
Circulation figures represent the number of individuals that receive a publication, either through
subscription or store/newsstand purchase. Total audience or readership refers to the total number of
individuals who read a magazine or newspaper and is determined by taking the readers per copy and
multiplying this figure by the circulation of the average issue. Magazines and newspapers use
circulation figures and readership estimates to set their advertising rates. The greater the number of
readers the publication can deliver, the more than can charge for advertising space. Media buyers
often prefer to use circulation figures of a publication in making their purchases since they are more
verifiable. Total audience or readership figures rely on estimates of pass-along readership which
occurs when the publication is read by individuals other than the primary subscriber or in places out
of the home such as waiting rooms, airplanes, etc. Media buyers generally attach greater value to the
primary in-home reader versus the out-of-home or pass-on reader as the former generally spends
more time with the publication, picks it up more often and is thus more likely to be attentive and
responsive to advertising.
14. Do you believe advertisers and agencies have a right to be notified when a magazine in which they
have an ad scheduled plans to run a printacular such as a multipage insert or pop-up ad? Defend your
One could argue that the best way for a magazine to deal with advertisers when it plans to run a
printacular is to notify the other advertisers, particularly those whose ads may be affected. Of course
the magazine may be reluctant to do this out of fear that the advertiser would cancel the ad. The
magazine may want to take steps to ensure the other advertisers that their ads will not be adversely
affected by the printacular. However, it seems that the best option here is to be up-front with the other
advertisers and their agencies and let them make the decision.
15. Discuss the future problems and challenges both newspapers and magazines will be facing from other
media such as direct mail, television and the Internet.
Newspapers and magazines face challenges from other media such as direct mail, television and the
Internet. Many advertisers are already spending more of their media budgets on direct mail as they
can target their messages more precisely with this medium. As the number of cable channels increases
on television, the ability to target specific groups of consumers will increase which means that TV
will be better able to compete with the selectivity of magazines. Newspapers also face challenges
from local cable stations, which are attracting more advertising revenue from local advertisers such as
retailers. The growth of the Internet is a major concern for both magazines and newspapers as
consumers are spending more and more time online, which means they have less time available to
read newspapers and magazines. The Internet is also becoming an important source of information
for many purchases and thus competes directly against magazines and newspapers, which have
traditionally played this role. With the growth of the Internet and online services, more consumers
will be spending time “surfing the net” which means they may be spending less time reading
magazines and newspapers. People only have so much time available for leisure activities such as
reading or watching TV and the Internet is likely to cannibalize some of the time that might have been
spent reading a magazine or newspaper. Magazines and newspapers are responding to this challenge
by making their publications available online. Some studies have shown consumers are comfortable
with the idea of reading magazines and newspapers over the Internet
Newspapers are likely to remain a very important advertising medium in the future, particularly for
national advertisers. However, newspaper’s battle to win more ad dollars from national advertisers
will continue to present a challenge. Newspapers must also continue to expand services and efforts to
both local and national advertisers to encourage them to continue to use the paper as an advertising
medium. Cross-media buys are another area where newspapers might focus their efforts to help
increase their advertising revenue. Newspapers can also take advantage of their distribution system
and the fact that they reach a large number of households. Many papers are collecting information
from their readers and building data bases that can be made available to marketers who want to target
consumers with direct-marketing efforts.
The magazine industry should continue to grow as the trend toward market segmentation continues
and many advertisers turn to magazines as a cost-efficient way of reaching specialized audiences.
Processes such as selective binding allow advertisers to personalize ads and target them to specific
types of consumers. There are a number of ways magazines can improve their position in the
advertising area such as strengthening their editorial platforms, better circulation management,
becoming involved in cross-magazines and media deals and using technological advances to make
advertising in magazines more appealing to marketers. Many newspapers and magazines are taking
steps to position themselves for the growth of the Internet by offering their publications through
online computer networks or making additional information on various topic areas available through
online services.
IMC Exercise
Choose a specific consumer or business magazine and analyze it from an advertising perspective. If time
permits you might write or call the publication to request a media kit from the publisher. Many
publications make e media kits available on their web sites as well. Your report should include an analysis
of the following:
The target audience for the magazine in terms of both demographics and life style of the readers it
The percentage of the magazine’s pages devoted to advertising versus editorial content. Is there a
clutter problem in the magazine?
A breakdown of the types of products and services advertised in the magazine. Why do you think
these advertisers are attracted to this particular publication?
An analysis of the editorial climate and mood created by the publication and how it affects who
chooses to advertise in it. How might the editorial climate of the magazine affect readers processing
of the advertisements?