My take: Did instant coffee replace coffee?

Home Editorials My take: Did instant coffee replace coffee?

by Steve Feldman

The Internet. Great advancement, even if Al Gore had little to do with it. Anything anyone wants to know is at their fingertips. The Internet makes us smarter consumers, smarter businesspeople, smarter individuals.

I was thinking about the Internet on the plane ride back from Anaheim, Calif., which hosted the recent Carpet One and Flooring America conventions. So much focus is being directed toward marketing online, advertising online. And rightfully so. One day someone may come up with a way to eat online.

But what about traditional mediums, like newspapers and magazines? Some ignoramuses have suggested that before long we will all be put out to pasture, much like the old L1011s and DC10s whose home these days is the Arizona desert.

You know what? Hogwash.

Last year five major magazine companies—Conde Nast, Hearst, Meredith, Time Inc. and Wenner Media—launched “Magazines, The Power of Print,” one of the largest print advertising campaigns ever created to promote the vitality of magazines as a medium.

Some prose from the campaign: “New technologies change many things. But not everything. You may surf, search, shop and blog online, but you still read magazines. And you’re far from alone.” And “The Internet is exhilarating. Magazines are enveloping. The Internet grabs you. Magazines embrace you. The Internet is impulsive. Magazines are immersive.”

The ad goes on to note how magazine readership actually increased between 2005 and 2009. Even the 18 to 34 segment continues to grow. And typical young adults now read more issues per month than their parents. Rather than being displaced by “instant” media, it would seem magazines are the ideal compliment.

The explanation, while sometimes drowned out by the Internet drumbeat, is fairly obvious. Magazines do what the Internet doesn’t. Magazines are not obsessed with immediacy nor trapped by the daily news cycle. Rather, they promote deeper connections. They create relationships. They engage us in ways digital media doesn’t.

The power of magazines extends to the advertising. Magazines remain the No. 1 medium for driving purchase consideration and intent. And that’s essential in every product category.

Here are some statistics that supported the campaign’s message:

  • Magazine readership rose 4.3% between 2005 and 2009 (Source: MRI Fall 2009, Fall 2005 data)
  • Average paid subscriptions reached nearly 300 million in 2009 (Source: MPA estimates based on ABC first half 2009 and second half 2009 data)
  • Adults 18 to 34 read more issues and spend more time per issue than their over- 34 counterparts (Source: MRI Fall 2009 data)
  • During the first 12 years of Google, magazine readership increased 11% (Source: MRI Fall 2009 data)
  • Magazine effectiveness is growing. Ad recall has increased 13% over the past five years. Action taking—based on readers recalling specific ads—increased 10%. (Source: Affinity’s VISTA Print Effectiveness Rating Service)
  • Magazines outperform other media in driving positive shifts in purchase consideration/intent. (Source: Dynamic Logic)

There’s a reason magazines are such an engaging media force. The format showcases rich content and our advertisers’ brand messages like no other medium, resulting in a bond with readers that is uniquely powerful.

This all proves that an established medium can continue to flourish as long as it continues to offer a unique experience. A new medium doesn’t necessarily displace an existing one. Movies did not kill radio. TV did not kill movies. And with apologies to MTV, video did not kill the radio star.

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