Ads Are Part of Our News And Entertainment Appeal

16 Aug Ads Are Part of Our News And Entertainment Appeal


via Ohio History Society

Everyone including his or her mother, brother and sister seemingly have weighed in on what Amazon’s Jeff Bezos will do with the Washington Post now that he owns the paper.

I was mystified by the purchase and the premium price Bezos paid. After reading dozens of pundits speculating on his purpose, I am no closer to having a theory about what the Amazon leader intends to do. However I share this somewhat off-the-beaten-track column on the subject because I think the writer, Shannon Rupp, makes some interesting points. Rupp’s nut is this:

“No matter what you’re selling, online or off, you still have to reach your buyers. And it’s growing increasingly clear you can’t attract an audience with the self-serving babble of content providers and shills.”

The front page shown here from 1887 is pretty typical of papers from the era, which featured advertising news on the front page. I have a similar from page from a late 1800s edition of the Chicago Tribune with ads announcing the news of the arrival of “fresh” Pacific Coast salmon.

Newspapers once had a much closer relationship with advertising than they do today.

And too often we forget that people read newspapers for the ads in addition to the news. In fact, good ads deliver news. They announce a new product, new feature, new use, new life-saving technique or medication… news.

One reason print newspaper circulation is in decline is that the ads — especially classified ads — have declined. It’s a vicious downward spiral — circulation declines, ads decline causing further circulation declines, etc.

If Bezos can leverage the credibility of The Washington Post to sell more stuff in a way that reverses this spiral — whether online or in print — then I say, welcome to our industry!