Ad. intrusion in news space

The Hindu, Sept. 29, 2009

We know about the increasing hold ad. sponsors have on our newspapers. But doesn’t this appear a bit intrusive ? Or is it thinking out-of-the-box in page-designing?

That this can happen in The Hindu speaks of desperate times for the print media. The newspaper’s managing director N Murali speaks of  excessive reliance of the print media on advertising  revenue.  He reckons the ad. component accounts for an ‘unsustainingly staggering’  85 percent of the total revenue of an English newspaper.

HinduSept29 001No wonder we have  the ad.agencies making newspaper pages, such as this one – back-page of The Hindu of Sept.29, 2009.  If editor has a say in how  news items are to be displayed in a given page,  it doesn’t seem very evident. Editor still retains editorial freedom; he/she is free to endorse  ad. manager .

 We have a media group where a  newspaper is termed a ‘product’;  and its editor reports to  the ‘brand manager’.

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7 Responses

  1. Reminds me of an Ogden Nash poem, a take-off on Kilmer’s “Trees” which went
    I think that I shall never see
    A billboard lovely as a tree
    Indeed unless the billboards fall
    I’ll never see a tree at all

    Here’s my newspaper version

    I think that I shall never see
    A newspaper article that’s really free
    Indeed, the way their ads are booked
    I think their goose is truly cooked

  2. A view from the other side of the fence : you wont believe how long the advertising guys sit and scratch their heads for ever more novel ways to grab the attention of the public. Something like this must’ve been greeted with a lot of envy among the advertising community because they didnt think of it first. I wouldn’t know any longer … I bid goodbye to that world long ago.
    Of all the advertising innovations, one of the most aggravating has to be the advertising flaps that come with the Times of India. It’s a strip of paper as long but nowhere as broad as the rest. As a result, if you try to hold the paper up, the advertising flap always hangs loose and doesnt fit into your grasp. I solved that problem by throwing away that flap as soon as I get it (I hope someone at TOI reads this). The Sports page is forced to go with it but that cant be helped. Someone who is spending a lot of money to put their product on a ear-flap over the front page is losing a lot of money for nothing!

    • Mercifully, I retired years before they invented the ad.flaps. I reckon the credit for bringing down media’s Berlin wall, between the editorial and response (ad.) departments must go to TOI. Its resident editors are editorial heads of ‘regional markets’. Brand manager calls the shots.

  3. Apt quote from Naren.

    I used to get furious when whole features were disturbed to accommodate last minute ads in our neighbourhood newspaper, but being free, we needed the revenue. But it irked me that we had to redo the page. Truth is , no ads no revenue – the Hindu shamelessly cut its price by a Rupee on its Chennai edition when TOI hit the stands in Chennai.

    Most people skip ads anyway

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