Empires fight back

Traditional media is on the comeback—albeit untraditionally
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Traditional media is on the comeback, albeit untraditionally

See also: Showcase is an advertising supplement created by Idealog. For information on upcoming Showcases call Vernene Medcalf on 09 360-5700 or 021 628-200 or email vernene@

Newsweek sold this month for $1. The month before, Fairfax shut down The Independent Financial Review. Two months before that TV3 cut its Sunrise Show. Three months before that Conde Nast cut four magazines, including the legendary Gourmet. It seems that with every passing month there’s more news of traditional media taking a hammering.

It’s tempting to join the chorus of digiratti dancing on the grave of old media. ‘Print is dead, long live the online kings!’ But their dance is premature.

For one thing, the recession has hit everyone, irrespective of the medium. The speed wobbles of Bebo, and Flossie show that the collapse in advertising revenues is felt as much by online media as it is by the rest.

And despite the sexiness of social media such as Twitter or Foursquare, it has yet to prove it’s a business, let alone a sustainable business.

Twitter is still now only experimenting with ad revenues despite having a valuation of US$1 billion. That’s a big, speculative billion dollars that can collapse as fast as it arose.

There’s no doubt that the new media challengers are stealing audiences from the old. On occasion they steal advertisers too: Air New Zealand is one of many to shift advertising spend to social media trials. But old media is far from dead. As these cases studies show, a flurry of innovation is providing new impetus to the formerly staid and established brands like TVNZ and The New Zealand Herald. And not just their online versions.

A flurry of innovation is providing new impetus to the formerly staid and established brands like TVNZ and The New Zealand Herald.

The New Zealand Herald has defied the global newspaper trend and has grown its readership by 22,000 in the year to March. It’s magazines have recorded similar growth: Canvas increased readership by 16,000, and Time Out, delivered in the Thursday edition of the paper, added 43,000 readers.

Magazines in general, after taking a hit during the recession (as luxury items often do) have made a strong recovery, according to the latest Nielsen National Readership Survey. Notable leaps have been recorded by Healthy Food Guide (up 25 percent), NZ Rugby World (up 17 percent), Dish (up 18 percent) and Home (up 38 percent).

The other feature of traditional media is the rapid uptake of online brand extensions and digital innovations. Most radio now broadcast on a digital platform and as the showcases demonstrate all traditional media is leveraging social media and the web to engage with their audiences in new ways.

Traditional media is back, but this time it’s different. Read on.

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