A while ago I wrote an opinion piece where I wondered what will happen if the anticipated movement of advertising spend from traditional media to online media doesn’t happen. I argued that the large number of ‘free’ ways for brands to communicate with their customers makes it more and more unnecessary to spend money on advertising. Business Week’s revenue figures reported in the New York Times seems to be echoing this theme. In a piece that picked at the bones of an information memorandum offered to potential buyers of the weekly news magazine, Stephanie Clifford says that any rise in online advertising sales isn’t supporting the decline in revenue from the magazine’s traditional ad-sales efforts:
The memorandum hints at why. Though BusinessWeek.com attracts a lot of page views, 45 percent of those are from slide shows, which Web publishers consider a gimmicky way to increase hits. Only 16 percent of page views came from original articles for the six months ended in April. BusinessWeek.com also pulls in just $19.28 per thousand ad views, almost a quarter lower than what it was earning three years ago. And it sells only about 38 percent of the available ads, down from 79 percent in 2006, according to the document.
Some advertisers seem to be wondering whether BusinessWeek is still the best place for their money. When Intel, once a major BusinessWeek advertiser, recently hosted media partners at a mixer to talk about future projects, BusinessWeek did not merit an invitation.
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