Move Over, Howard Stern: Now Google’s the “King of All Media”

Google and Print Advertising Revenue Trends, 2004-2012It’s official. With nearly $21 billion in ad revenue generated during the first half of 2012, Google now attracts more advertising business than all U.S. print media combined.

That is correct:  German-based statistics portal Statista reports that Google garnered ~$20.8 billion in total ad revenues over the period, while all U.S. newspapers and magazines took in only about $19.2 billion.

Never mind that the comparison isn’t completely apples-to-apples … in that print revenues are for the United States only, while Google generates ad revenues worldwide. Still, it’s a dramatic milestone, and it says a lot about the fortunes (and future) of print versus online advertising.

Statista has helpfully published trend charts that show how quickly the ad picture has changed (see above). Only a few years ago, print advertising dominated the scene, but the trajectories of it and Google have been on opposite paths ever since.

It was inevitable that the lines would eventually cross, but how many could have foreseen it happening as early as 2012?

As if on cue, Advance Publications, a company that owns a number of venerable newspapers in New Orleans, Cleveland and elsewhere, has just announced that it is likely to cut the publication frequency of the Plain Dealer newspaper from its current seven days a week.

If Advance follows through on its intentions, it will join the New Orleans Times Picayune as a daily newspaper that’s no longer a daily.

The publisher’s letter to Plain Dealer readers described the newspaper’s future in lofty terms, noting that changes were coming as the paper seeks to “embrace dynamic shifts in the way information is consumed.”  And other such language.

It also noted that the pending changes are “not about cost-cutting.” But who believes that?

And in fact, the publisher’s letter states also that “if we maintain the status quo, we risk doing what everyone – our employees, advertisers and the community – wants to avoid: disappearing.”

If people don’t see a correlation between the Statista data and what the Plain Dealer has in store for its readers … they’re living on another planet. 

One thought on “Move Over, Howard Stern: Now Google’s the “King of All Media”

  1. It really is a shame that print is in such precipitous decline, for many reasons. But here’s my reason of the day:

    Print advertising has a “tail” that paid digital and broadcast advertising do not. When you run a print (or direct mail) campaign, orders come in for weeks.

    It seems many people see ads that interest them, but at an inopportune time. If it’s a print ad, they’re likely to clip it, or otherwise put it aside until they’re ready to buy. That rarely happens with digital or broadcast campaigns.

    I once did a calculation; it turns out that in any given month (except during the holidays when we had lots of seasonal advertising in play and things were really popping), up to 50 percent of our sales came from sources that were over 90 days old. In fact, it was not uncommon to get orders from sources that were over TWO YEARS old.

    There’s also the follow-on effect: people seeing a print ad and then passing it on to a friend. But that’s for another day.

    I know: It’s ultimately about ROI, tail or no tail. And maybe it’s just me. But I’ve never managed to devise a digital campaign that could beat the results of a good old-fashioned print campaign. Not even close.

    Besides, there’s just something special about getting an order from, say, a 1995 issue of the New Yorker!

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