Publisher Crain Communications recently announced its Waste and Recycling News would no longer produce print magazines, only digital, citing a decline in advertising pages due to industry consolidation, among other factors. It makes a media planner wonder if the writing is on the – screen – for any other Crain print publications, such as my long-time favorite, Plastics News. When UBM/Canon Communications ditched the print editions of Modern Plastics and Injection Molding, there was some outcry from disaffected readers yet the Plastics Today portal concept appears to be doing just fine. So does the Paper, Film and Foil Converting e-only concept.
I know of several other print magazines suffering from declining advertising pages that must be considering the move to digital advertising models. Typical reasons include the teetering economy, the competition from online advertising, big advertisers sitting on the sidelines waiting for a turnaround – and their focus on metrics, since the full impact of print advertising cannot be measured in the way banner ad impressions and clicks may be measured.
Certainly, these are all factors. I call them excuses. As challenging and competitive as today’s business environment may be, several other publishers continue to produce thick print magazines loaded with ads of all sizes. What makes them different?
I work with four companies that could get results from advertising in Plastics News (and could have gotten results from ads in Modern Plastics) and two others that could do well advertising in Waste and Recycling News. But it’s been quite some time since I can recall hearing from their ad sales reps. By contrast, the ad sales reps for three of the print magazines that are thriving make sure to stay in touch even when I’ve already said no, not yet, or don’t have a budget. Sure, there may be a shrinking overall pool of print ad pages in today’s economy. But is it possible that magazines experiencing declines in ad pages really just need the sales team to pick up the phone?