Secret newspaper business helps marketers make money…

Further to my recent posts about print channels and the travel industry, I’d thought I’d share how newspapers are partnering with marketers to make more money for both parties.

Most newspapers now offer advertising in both printed and digital versions. Some publishers also package ads in email newsletters or to mobile phone subscribers too. But one Australian publisher has got smart and gone back to the future.

back tot he future

It is partnering with advertisers and sharing in the profits from the advertisements – like they did decades ago before the invention of television.

The publisher works with the marketers to get the most profitable advertisement by giving the marketer free media space. The marketer creates a number of ads and tests the different versions. They are run at no cost.

All orders are tracked via a specific telephone number or landing page URL. Though many ads do not have a web address – the only way to buy is the telephone. Yes dear reader, there are still many companies making money without websites.

The reason is simple – a website can add another (time-consuming and attention-distracting) step to the sales process and therefore reduce the number of people who proceed to buying. The website interferes with the sales process.

But back to the ads – the results are transparent to both parties as it’s in their interest to maximise them for mutual benefit – given they share the profits.

press ad
Typical ad using a phone number as the main response device

This has been so successful the publisher has a special division just for direct response advertisers. Unfortunately media buying companies won’t recommend this type of advertising to their clients because the media agency doesn’t earn a commission on it, despite its obvious worth to the marketers.

The publisher has partnered with travel agents, cruise lines and marketers of financial investment products, health products, education products and more.

The benefit to the marketer is they only have to use a minimum of two channels to get the sale – newspaper and telephone or website. It’s a very cost-effective way to leverage the press channel and determine its worth. Particularly in the specialist lift-out sections like travel.

I don’t understand why more publishers don’t do the same. Or maybe my cynical side does. It’s because many publications, both print and digital versions, don’t deliver the results advertisers require, but they aren’t brave enough to prove otherwise.

It wouldn’t be hard to get new business – just run an ad offering FREE ads to advertisers. I suspect the phone would ring off the hook.


But they better get a move on. If they don’t start being more innovative in their offering, the door is wide open for one of those little companies like Google to step in and create new business partnerships with advertisers.

I’m off to read the newspaper over a cuppa – who knows I might find a great holiday deal…

One comment

  1. Apropos of print advertising, recently I bought a product online and when I completed my order, I was offered up to four one year US subscriptions from a choice of several very popular magazines. My cost would be $2 per subscription, so $8 for all four magazines. Couldn’t be, I thought. I did what I could to check out the magazine subscription consolidator online, even called a toll free number to confirm the offer was legit. From all that I could gather, it was real. Sure enough, my subscriptions to TIME, Money, Travel & Leisure and Eating Light have all started arriving. I can only assume the market for printed media has shrunk so drastically that US publishers are virtually paying people to boost their circulation numbers. TIME magazine is now a fraction of its former size with hardly any advertising. Just another fatality in this changing world of digital media.

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