Category Archives: News U Can Use

General advertising media news

News U Can Use — July

These news items are brought to you by Kuk & Baldwin:

SECURITY NEED INCREASES.     When the economy is down, burglary and
property crimes go up.   Indeed, all facets of the private security industry are doing well and running at a $160 billion-a-year clip – with alarm systems accounting for some $35 billion of that and growing by 7%-8% a year.
Regarding home alarm systems, the trend is to wireless, especially with many homes abandoning land phone lines.   Also, homes with a monitored system,
including wireless, are 3 times less likely to be broken into or robbed
than homes without one.   And while security firms still install most systems, more and more locksmiths are finding alarms to be a reliable new revenue stream (Locksmith Ledger, 6/11).

NEW BUSINESS MODEL?  Since the “Great Recession” began late in
2008, more people have become entrepreneurs than during the prior 15 years –
and the future will likely bring more of the same.   According to a 2009 report by MIT, freelance positions are expected to make up half of all new jobs during a recovery – in part because of online technology, and also the fact that many firms find they can operate efficiently by shrinking permanent staff and using
freelancers.   Many freelancers will look for work on freelance websites like Elance, but some may need good YP representation (Christian Science Monitor, 6/13/11).

REMODELING BITS.     A recent Scarborough Research survey found
that the most common home improvement projects undertaken by homeowners in the past year were landscaping, 29%; interior painting or wallpapering, 28%;
carpeting/floor covering, 14%; and bathroom remodeling, 13% (Research Alert,
6/3/11)…. Pennsylvania builders have beaten back a proposed law requiring
fire-sprinkler systems for all new construction (Journal of Light
, 6/11)….A bill has been introduced in the Senate to require
lenders to consider energy-saving factors when offering mortgages (Remodeling,

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Other recent media/advertising news:

Survey:  Advertisers & Marketers More Optimistic
An AdAge survey of 3,200 advertisers and marketers reveals the industry is feeling a bit more positive about things, with executives saying they’re more optimistic about boosting their ad budgets than at any other time in the past four years. Advertiser Perceptions carries out the survey every six months, and the latest result marks a turnaround from more cautious sentiment in the immediately previous sampling.  (Source)

Revised forecast calls for 20% growth for online ads
eMarketer has revised its online ad spending estimate for this year as results are more robust than previously projected.  Online is expected to now grow 20% to $31.3 billion The company earlier estimated a 10.5% increase to $28.5 billion.
Display ads, which are projected to rise 25% to $12.3 billion, are helping to
fuel the growth.  (Source)

TV ad spending is expected to hit $68 billion by 2015
A new forecast from eMarketer predicts that overall traditional media advertising will be basically flat for the next couple of years, TV ad
spending, which was $59 billion last year, is expected to climb to $64.5
billion in 2012 and on to $68 billion by 2015. (Source)

TV Part 2:  some additional good news for TV:  NBC’s Super Bowl ad sales are strong, despite the fact that we aren’t even sure there will be a pro football season, with nearly half the ad time already sold for the February, 2012 game. As was true with Fox last year, automakers are the ones “driving” the market. Exact prices are not being shared, but it appears NBC will be able to push increases beyond the typical increase of $150,000 from year to year which would easily topping last year’s going rate of $3 million for a 30-second spot.   Who says advertisers have no money to spend?? (Source)

TV Part 3:  Time Warner is increasing the number of TV channels and programs it pipes over the Internet to people with conventional pay-TV subscriptions, as the TV business faces growing competition from Web-video services.  (Source)

More e-mails are being delivered; fewer opened
Another new media advertising tool doesn’t seem to be working as
well.  According to Harte-Hanks, delivery rates for subscription-based e-mail sends rose slightly to 95% for 2010, but average open rates dropped from 26% to 17%.   Click thru rates stayed level at 3%. Harte-Hanks advises e-mail marketers to keep their lists “clean” by handling right away bounces and opt-out requests; targeting messages and running them at set intervals; and testing each message.  (Source)

More Newspaper Good News/Bad News

Gannett, the publisher of USA Today announced that its Q2 profits fell 22%.  The good news:  the profit drop was smaller than Wall Street was expecting and digital sales were “strong”.  As a result, the company had more than doubled its dividend.  (Source)

Three advertising elements that trump creativity
Don’t let the desire to be creative get in the way of communicating the three main elements of advertising, Ryan Caligiuri, a Winnipeg-based marketing specialist writes. No matter what, your advertisement should state the benefits of your product, give customers a reason to buy and include a simple, repeatable tagline (can you say RASCAL factors Yellow Pages people….).  (Source)

News U Can Use – June

These news items are brought to you by Kuk & Baldwin:

CLEANING SERVICES.    Besides great cleaning results, businesses (and homeowners, too) that hire a commercial cleaning service need to have a high degree of confidence in the firm’s reliability and integrity.   As a minimum, evidence of reliability should include the fact that the service is bonded and insured, in case of liability or theft – and where a contract is involved, the service should offer a 30 or 60 day trial period.   According to, the
average cost to clean a small office (under 2500 square feet) is $34, while for
10,000 square feet or more, the average is $103 per visit (Inc. Magazine,

GERIATRIC CARE.    It’s a burgeoning industry, but with rising costs.   For example, the average annual cost for maintaining an aging parent in an assisted living facility is now $38,000 – and for a nursing home, it’s $67,500.   But surveys show that seniors fear nursing homes more than death.   So the emphasis is now on home care, and several new specialties have sprung up – e.g., certified geriatric care managers, who find affordable or free assistance programs ($80 to $160 an hour); certified aging-in-place contractors, who specialize in home modifications that accommodate seniors; and certified driver-rehab specialists, who have passed courses on elder driver training and safety (Money, 6/11).

SERVICE IS THE KEY.     In a recent phone survey, 22% of consumers said they stopped doing business with a company in 2010 due to poor customer service.   In the same vein, a recent Federal Trade Commission survey found that
70% of US adults are willing to spend more for products and services
offered by businesses with superior customer service.  Indeed, there’s no doubt that in a tight economy with heavy competition, businesses need to offer and give great service – and advertise it aggressively (Research Alert, 5/20/11).

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Other recent media/advertising news:

 U.S. Advertising to Increase 4.4% in Q1

Kantar Media is projecting that total U.S. advertising expenditures will increased to $32.5 billion in the first quarter, a gain of 4.4% over the year-earlier period. That figure represents the lowest growth rate over the past year, but does follow five consecutive quarters of growth. (Link)

ZenithOptimedia Also Scales Back Global Ad Forecast

Following Kantar Media’s predictions, ZenithOptimedia scaled back its prediction for global ad spending for 2011 from a 4.6% increase over 2010 to a 4.2% increase.  The company cited rising energy prices, the Japanese earthquake/tsunami, and political upheaval worldwide for the
change.  U.S. ad spending is pegged to rise only 2.5% to a total of 0$155.2 billion this year. (Link)

TV Ad Spending Estimates Are Optimistic

Two recent items appeared regarding TV ad spending. First, Moody’s Investors
Service believes that political ad spending on TV will reach nearly $3 billion
next year, especially if both presidential candidates choose to forgo federal
funding and its limits. This forecast would be up from $2.3 billion in 2010.  (Link)

Second, a MagnaGlobal forecast predicts that TV’s share of total U.S. ad spending will grow to 38% by 2016.   Of course online ad spending is also expected to grow, reaching a 22% share of total spending, hitting $47.4 billion. The growth in TV and online is coming at the expense of traditional print media — newspapers and magazines, which are steadily losing share.  (Link)

Be Sure Advertisers Know Who They Are Selling To

While most of the marketing news you read would have you think that young males 18-25 are the only group that marketing pros want to target, Stephanie Pappas of BBDO in a New York Times article indicated that the TV industry is taking a new look at audiences over 55, aiming shows where the disposable income is.  “In some ways, they are the ideal consumer.  They have money, they consume loads of media and they remain optimistic.”   Are Yellow Page publishers noticing this also??  (Link)

The other group also being looked at more carefully is women.  Why?  Susan Fabry writing for indicated that women control 80% of spending in the U.S., and businesses that don’t effectively market to women are “leaving millions of dollars … on the table.”   Fabry offers tips on how to “make this consumer feel understood.” Marketers should acknowledge women, join their circle (especially on the Internet), understand their similarities, respect
their differences and be prepared to grow with them.  (Link)

For that same demographic, according to a survey by, more than 60% of Americans have made a purchase from a “daily deal” e-mail, and 35% say they make at least one such purchase monthly, Deals to women lead in actual purchases by about 10 percentage points more than men.  College graduates and high-income households are much more likely to redeem deals than those with less education or lower income. (Link)

Local Radio Seeing Uptick in Ad Sales

Ad revenues at local radio stations will increase 3.7% this year for a total of $15.1 billion, according to recent BIA/Kelsey forecasts. That follows a 5.4% increase driven by political ads in 2010. The firm expects local ad sales, including online ads, to hit $18 billion by 2015.  (Link)

Opt-Out comes to Online Ads

Addressing mounting concerns in Washington over consumer privacy online, Google and Yahoo!  are introducing ad icons that link to tools that allow users to opt out of tracking. And TRUSTe and DoubleVerify are launching similar services that first link to an ad information site. (Link)

Online Continues On Growth Curve

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Spending on U.S. Internet ads rose 15% to $26 billion last year, outpacing traditional media and surpassing newspaper ad revenue for the first time.  (Link)

Then IAB and PricewaterhouseCoopers reported that the U.S. online
ad industry enjoyed its best first quarter ever, notching sales of $7.3
billion, a 23% jump over the same period in 2010,. “The consistent and
considerable year-over-year growth we’re seeing demonstrates that digital media
is an increasingly popular destination for ad dollars, and for good
reason,” said IAB chief executive Randall Rothenberg.  (Link)


News U Can Use – May

These news items are brought to you by Kuk & Baldwin.  Use this information in your account prep efforts:

In some parts of the country, air conditioning (AC) contractors are seeing an uptick in business, due in part to an available tax credit for upgrading to more efficient systems.   Central AC systems typically last 15 years, but heavy users may want to upgrade sooner – and even if an AC system is only 10 years old, switching to more energy-efficient equipment will cut the cost of running it by 20% to 40%.   In most cases, homeowners who want to upgrade a central system would leave the existing ductwork in place but would still have to spend $2500 to $4000 to replace the condenser and compressor.   Window units are typically
replaced every 7-8 years (Money, 5/11).

Diamonds are still a girl’s best friend and make up 30% (and $55 billion) of all jewelry bought in the US in a year – but although the average engagement ring price is now at $5392, over 44% of engagement ring buyers spend $2500 or less.   The number of marriages in the US, while declining in the last three decades, seems to have flattened at about 2.1 million a year – and the majority are formal weddings that carry an average cost of $26,984.   That includes an average of $1099 spent on the wedding dress, typically at a bridal shop (Parade, 5/1/11; USA Today, 4/28/11; Smart Money, 5/11).

The average US household spends about $180 a year on flowers, of which
$63 goes for flowering plants.   Regarding the latter, a garden industry rule of thumb is that for every $1 spent on flowering plants, $3 more is spent on accessories like hoses, garden gloves, and shovels.   All those dollar signs are why chains like Home Depot and Lowe’s are ramping up their flower plant ventories, along with accessories.   For example, Lowe’s has been testing flower plants for the last few years and typically picks 10 a year to sell.   All that big box activity means small local garden stores need to find ways to differentiate themselves – and then get the word out (Personal Journal, 4/27/11).

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 Other recent media/advertising news:

Media Results:  Recent news about advertising media and general has been active.  Here are a few key examples:

 ZenithOptimedia Reduces Global Advertising Forecast

When you add up rising energy prices, the Japanese earthquake/tsunami, and political upheaval worldwide, ZenithOptimedia has decided to scale back its prediction for global ad spending for 2011 from a 4.6% increase over 2010 to a 4.2% increase, with total spending pegged at $470.8 billion. U.S. ad spending is pegged at rising 2.5% to total $155.2 billion this year. Source

Advertising Comeback Seen in Hard-hit Michigan
While overall global ad spending picked up last year from the depths of a recession in 2009 in a modest recovery, even in the state of Michigan,
one of the hardest hit Midwestern states by the downturn. “If the first
quarter of 2011 is an indication of the remainder of the year, we’re going to
have a great year,” said Bob Blanchard, CEO of Hanon McKendry in Grand
Rapids. Source

Local Radio sales Up 3.7% in 2011
Ad revenues at local radio stations will increase 3.7% this year
for a total of $15.1 billion, BIA/Kelsey forecasts. That follows a 5.4%
increase driven by political ads in 2010. The firm expects local ad sales,
including online ads, to hit $18 billion by 2015. Source

Weekly News Magazines Seeing Advertising Gains (except Newsweek)
With the notable exception of Newsweek, U.S. news magazines posted
gains in ad pages for the first quarter, with growth of 36% at the relative
upstart The Week and 49% at Bloomberg’s redesigned Businessweek. Newsweek, however, saw a 31% drop, signaling work still to be done for new owner Sidney Harman and Editor Tina Brown. Source

Digital Out-of-Home Advertising Putting Up Solid Gains
Digital out-of-home media emerged as the biggest percentage gainer among all media in ad revenues for 2010, with a 24.5% jump in spending to $1.1 billion, according to the Digital Place-based Advertising Association. The DPAA notes the ad gains in this particular sector were largely unaffected by political spending, which adds long-term significance to the results.   Source 

TV Ad Dollars Coming Back to Pre-Recession Levels
Don’t look now but TV ad revenues are on track to return to pre-recession levels over the next year, even despite strong growth in online marketing, this according to eMarketer. In fact, television is currently leading the way in the US traditional ad market among other media, most of which show some recover, but just not as quick. Source

Internet Advertising Surpasses Newspapers For First Time

Following up on the prior story, which noted that media other than TV are not recovering as quickly comes the news that spending on U.S. Internet ads rose 15% to $26 billion last year.  This gorw means online is still outpacing traditional media and has now surpassing newspaper ad revenue for the first time.  Source

Online Media News:  Discussion about online advertising is always active.  Recently, that hasn’t changed.  Here are a few key examples:

Digital Magazine Sales Count Towards “Paid Circulation
It all depends on how you count them.  We’ve noted that iPad and digital-edition sales of magazines are officially being counted towards circulation guarantees made to advertisers, per a new guideline from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.  But one twist is that the digital editions and the print editions may have different ads, raising some confusing among media buyers. Source

Google, Yahoo! and others offer ad opt-out icons
With some very vocal concerns coming out of lawmakers in Washington about consumer privacy online, Google and Yahoo! are introducing ad icons that link to tools that allow users to opt out of tracking. Likewise TRUSTe and DoubleVerify are launching similar services that first link to an ad information site. Source

Facebook Testing Ads Based on Real-Time Social Chatter
Facebook is testing an ad-targeting system that is supposed to monitor user chatter and serve up ads in real time related to the most recent conversations. Hmmm.  Analysts say the system could help marketers get through to users who say they find much of Facebook’s advertising irrelevant, but that the system’s success or failure will ultimately depend on its ability to provide pertinent content. “You might have the potential of seeing some unfortunate ads if not targeted correctly,” Debra Aho Williamson says. Source

Mobile Media News:  No topic is hotter now than anything related to mobile, especially mobile marketkng.  Here are a few key examples:

Borrell — Mobile Will Play a Larger Role in Local Advertising
Borrell Associates believes that advertisers will allocate nearly 18% of their online budgets to local media in 2011, compared with about 15% last year. The firm notes that mobile advertising is helping fuel the growth in local advertising and could account for up to two-thirds of local spending within just five years. Revenues at Groupon and already exceeds online spending at newspapers, TV and radio stations in about 20% of local markets. Source

Cheaper Kindle Come With Ads
Amazon plans to launch a Kindle e-reader that sells for $114,  about $25 less than the lowest-priced version of the popular gadget. But, but,  but — users of the new Kindle with “Special Offers” will have to  view advertising on the home page as they’re choosing which digital books to read. General Motors’ Buick brand, P&G’s Olay line and Visa are reported to be interested in being the first Kindle advertisers, according to Amazon.  Source

Media Research:  It has been an active time for research data especially regarding newer media and social networking.  Here are a few key

Marketers Missing  The Real Keepers of the Purse Strings
Did you know that women control 80% of  spending in the U.S., and businesses don’t effectively market to women are “leaving millions of dollars … on the table,” according to Susan Fabry.    In this article she offers five tips to help “make this consumer feel understood.” Marketers should acknowledge women, join their circle (especially on the Internet), understand their similarities,  respect their differences and be prepared to grow with them. Source

Study: Almost all U.S. Homes Will Have Access to Broadband by 2016
Interpublic Group’s Magna Global has reported that the number of U.S. homes that are expected to rise from 84.7 million at the end of last year to 99.4 million by the end of 2016, while households with broadband will go from about 76 million to 97.9 million.  For the record that is less than the percentage of homes that receive print Yellow Pages.  Source

Nielsen Says Groupon Users Less Affluent & Educated than LivingSocial’s
Ok for all you social media fans, LivingSocial users, compared with those who use its bigger rival, Groupon, tend to be wealthier and younger and are better educated, according to  Nielsen. LivingSocial users are 49% more apt than the typical American Web user to earn $150,000 or more (which is closer to a typical print Yellow Pages user than Gropon), vs. 30% for Groupon, and are more apt to be under 35 and possess bachelor’s or graduate degrees. Source

Research Say TV is a Major Influencer in Buying Decisions?
Hmmm.  According to a survey by Deloitte, 7 in 10 Americans rank TV viewing as their top media activity, and more than 8 in 10 say TV ads have the biggest influence on what they buy. I’m curious about this since the same study indicated that three in four Americans also multitask during their TV time, with 4 in 10 spent online, 3 in 10 talking on mobile phones, and about one in four IMing or writing text messages.  Seriously?  Source  

News U Can Use – March

These news items are brought to you by Kuk & Baldwin:

REMODELING REPORT. As you’d expect in this post-housing-bubble period, figures for cost recoupment of remodeling jobs are significantly lower than in 2008 – e.g., only a steel entry door replacement gets a 100% recoupment within 2 years, while a garage door replacement recoups 84%; siding replacement recoups 74% to 80%, depending on materials; and window replacements average about 72%.   Most everything else runs 45% to 65%.   Note that the highest recoupment projects add curb appeal to make the property more saleable (Journal of Light Construction, 1/11)….Remodeling growth for 2011 could be as high as 9% – ending at an annualized dollar figure of $124 billion (Remodeling, 2/11).

HOME SECURITY. The US residential security market is worth $21 billion a year, and that includes everything from complex monitored electronic systems to simple deadbolts.   According to the Uniform Crime Report, there are now nearly 10 million property crime offenses a year in the US – with burglary accounting for 25%, of which 67% (1.7 million) are residential.   The average loss is close to $2000.  But if the economy stays flat, the numbers could get worse.   While the vast majority of households won’t be buying an elaborate system, many are spending up to a few hundred dollars with locksmiths for basic protections like deadbolts, window locks, garage locks, and door viewers (Locksmith Ledger, 2/11).

MARKET BRIEFS. A recent survey of restaurant owners showed that 70% expected their 2011 sales to be better than 2010, while 28% felt sales would be about the same, and only 2% thought 2011 would be worse than 2010 (Restaurant News, 1/10/11)….Some 89% of brides-to-be are considering a small wedding to save money, with 45% planning to spend less than $10,000 (Research Alert, 1/21/11)….In a recent survey, a bare majority (51%) of small business owners said that “weak sales” was their biggest problem and that it reflected the effect of declining household wealth on consumer buying (World, 2/12/11).

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Other recent media/advertising news:

Kantar Media: U.S. ad spending increased 6.5% in 2010
Research firm Kantar Media indicated that the overall US domestic advertising sector grew 6.5% last year.  TV (including broadcast and cable) was up 10.3%, online display rising 9.9%, radio up 7.6% and outdoor up 9.6%.  Yellow Pages were not specifically mentioned but the newspaper sector was the only down sector, coning in down 3.5% from 2009. The total U.S. spend was estimated at $131 billion. Looking deeper at which vertical market segments drove the gains, automotive was the largest climbing 19.8%.  (source)

More Bad News for Newspapers:   Classifieds aren’t coming back
The estimates presented in the above research by Kantar are consistent with an industry that has seen steady losses over the past five years.  Why?  “Fundamental shifts in consumer and advertiser behavior” to use the Web for help wanted, auto and real estate ads, according to  Alan D. Mutter, a professor at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. The drop in classified advertising has accounted for 58% of the nearly $23 billion in lost newspaper ad sales from 2005 to 2010, according to Mutter. (source)

Interactive ads engage readers better than print
A new study finds that interactive advertising via digital magazine platforms (such as Apple’s iPad) are better at engaging  readers and have stronger purchase intent than the same ads featured in print magazines according to research commissioned by Adobe.  The study did not measure actual purchases though.  (source)

Webvisible: SMB Search Spending Down, But getting More Efficient
The “State of Small Business Advertising” report, conducted by online advertising firm WebVisible found that sSmall businesses actually spent less on search advertising during the final three months of 2010, and they spread those dollars across more keywords.

The new report indicated that the average small business spent $2,126 on search in Q4 2010, a 1.1% year-over-year decrease from 2009. The average keyword count was 87 root keywords per advertiser over the last three months of the year — a 30% increase from the same period in 2009.

WebVisible suggested that the numbers suggest smaller advertisers are becoming more efficient with their paid search strategies, but didn’t make any comment that the down economy might have also contributed to the reduction.  (source)

Yodle introduces local display ad product
Yodle is moving beyond its core search and online directory ad products with a new display ad tool. The tool is oriented at giving local businesses, especially franchises and those with multiple sites, the ability to place contextual and targeted display ads.

Since its creation in 2006, Yodle has primarily focused on helped local businesses attract prospective customers by facilitating search and online yellow pages campaigns. Now, according to company execs, using the new Yodle Display product allows local businesses to run contextual- and even behavioral-targeted display campaigns.

While the company’s other products are aimed at every range of small business—from pizza places to plumbers—Yodle Display is primarily geared for franchise and multilocation businesses.  To date, the company has yet to show a profit.  (source)

Skype launches front page advertising
Skype is opening its video calling service to advertisers.  In an effort to develop a new revenue stream ahead of the company’s much anticipated public offering, the site will begin showing large-format ads on its front page from companies including Visa, Universal Pictures and Volkswagen. Windows users in the U.S. and the U.K should have already seen the first ads by now. (source)

Twitter more popular among small businesses

From a survey by BIA/Kelsey and ConStat, about 20% of small and midsized businesses use Twitter, and about half are using Facebook. Twitter use more than doubled for small and midsized businesses between the third quarter of 2009 and the fourth quarter of 2010, the survey found. (source)

Groupon Sued

A Minnesota man has sued Groupon, alleging that expiration dates on the company’s discounts are “deceptive and illegal.”  The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis said federal and state laws prohibit companies from selling or issuing gift certificates with expiration dates. Groupon of course had no comment. Instead they rolled out a new ad campaign of short, mild TV commercials. Groupon also dismissed its ad agency, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, following a poorly-received set of Super Bowl commercials.  (source)

News U Can Use-January

These news items are brought to you by Kuk & Baldwin:

NO RECESSION FOR PET CARE. In 2010, Americans spent $20 billion on vet bills, up 8.5% over 2009 – and that will increase in 2011, because more and more pet owners are paying thousands of dollars to treat pet illnesses that would have gone undiagnosed or untreated a few years ago.   For example, some dogs and cats are receiving pacemaker implants at a cost of $1000 to $1500, while a dog or cat with kidney failure may undergo a kidney-clearing procedure that costs $20,000 to $25,000 for just the first few weeks.   Other examples include a detailed exam, $200-$450; an MRI, $1500-$2500; surgery, $500-$8000; radiation, $1500-$10,000; and chemo, $200-$1000 a month (Smart Money, 1/11).

LOCKSMITH PRICES.     A 2010 price survey of basic locksmith services came up with the following averages (nearly identical to 2009):  service call, $65; hourly rate, $45; auto opening call, $60; fit standard auto ignition key in shop, $50; fit auto transponder key in shop, $92; fit auto sidewinder key in shop, $125; fit motorcycle key, $81; cylinder key-in-knob, $15; make US or foreign single/double cut keys by code, $12-$18; make foreign sidewinder key by code, $58; duplicate US or foreign single/double cut keys, $2.50-$5.50; duplicate hi-security key, $15; and first-key fitting, $32.  Such data can justify listing these services in a YP ad – even for locksmiths who specialize mainly in electronic access and other hi-tech systems (Locksmith Ledger, 12/10).

OPTICAL CONFUSION. In spite of the name, very few eyeglasses these days actually contain glass.   Most lenses are made of plastic for lightness, impact resistance, and overall safety.   And there’s a widening variety of types of plastic lenses – e.g., CR-39s, which are the least expensive; polycarbonate, which are highly shatter-resistant, UV protective, and cost more; high-index lenses, which are thinner, lighter, UV protective, and cost even more; progressive, also known as no-line bifocals; photochromic, which darken automatically in sunlight; and trivex, which are highly impact-resistant.   Several lens coatings are also available, such as for scratch resistance and anti-reflectivity.   A good YP ad for an optician or OD might list and briefly define many of these choices (Consumer Reports, 12/10).

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Other recent media/advertising news:

US Ad Spending Rebounds to Over $150 billion in 2010

The Wall Street Journal (link to full article) reports that after a difficult 2008 and 2009, the U.S. ad market will take a step forward in 2010, based on the latest study from ad-buying firm ZenithOptimedia. The company’s projections have U.S. ad spending coming in at $151.5 billion, a 2.2% increase over the $148.3 billion taken in during the previous year.

Let’s hope that this trend also continues into the Yellow Page industry as well.

Don’t Look Now – Online publications are about to edge out newspapers for ad dollars’s blog (link to full article) reports that companies are expected to spend $25.8 billion on online advertising this year, which for the first time will exceed the total spending on newspaper ads, according to a study by eMarketer. Marketers are reallocating dollars because “they see more customers shifting time toward the Web. It’s something we’ve seen coming for a long time, but this is a tipping point,” said eMarketer CEO Geoff Ramsey.

Magazines post first ad sales gains in three years

Are we seeing the end of the chill in advertising??  Reuters has reported that the magazine industry has posted its first gains in ad sales since 2007. Ad revenue at consumer magazines climbed 3% in 2010, the first such gain in three years. Time Warner’s People magazine led the way in total ad revenue at $1 billion, while the Food Network magazine was up 174% for the year’s largest percentage increase. Increased auto ads accounted for much of the boost across the industry.

Google, Google, and more Google

Two news items related to Google.  First one: from The Wall Street Journal (link to full article) — It appears that Google is getting into the cold-calling game, reaching out to local businesses with offers of online advertising packages and discounts. The calls are designed to demystify the online-ad buying process for small-business owners.  For example:

One person who has experienced the results is Debbie Codino, a manager at Bob Brown Tire Center Inc. in Portland, Ore. She said she hangs up daily on callers who say they can help boost the small tire shop’s presence on the Web to attract new customers. But when she received a call from a Google salesman last month, she stayed on the line.

Ms. Codino quickly agreed to pay $25 a month to highlight her store and show a 10%-off coupon when people use terms like “Portland tires” in a search on Google. “I was surprised,” she said. “This time it was really Google calling so I was motivated to listen.”

And – ClickZ (link to full article) reports that Google, which is on track to reach some $2.5 billion in display ad sales this year, is positioned itself through various ad products and platforms to take advantage of the growth projected for the segment. Displays are expected to go from $8.9 billion in 2010 to $15.9 billion in 2014.

“Google has rebuilt the infrastructure of a huge part of online advertising,” said Adam Cahill, senior vice president and director of digital media at Hill Holiday. “They’re the guts. It kind of doesn’t matter what the outcome — they’ll be touching it in some way.”

Gen X Cost Cutting Most in Tight Economy

When talking with your potential advertisers, be sure to find out what their products and services demographics are.  According to a recent poll from Harris, GenX-ers (ages 35-44) have taken significantly higher steps than the average American to cut costs.  Some finding from the study:

  • Generic Brands (as a cost cutting measure) has become popular with all ages
    • 62% of US adults have bought more generic brands in the last six months
    • 70% of GenX have bought more generic brands in the last six months
  • Taking a brown bag lunch is the second most popular cost cutting measure:
    • 45% of US adults brown bag it instead of buying
    • 62% of GenX brown bag it instead of buying
  • Gen Xers are likely to take other cost cutting measures:
    • 45% of GenX tend to go to the hairdresser less often against the overall average of 37%
    • 44% of GenX switched to refillable water against the overall average of 37%
    • 35% of GenX stopped purchasing morning coffee against the overall average of 22%
    • 28% of GenX cut back on cable or TV services against the overall average of 22%.

Younger users prefer IM and texting to e-mail

Age warfare?  ComScore has reported that although the use of digital communication tools, such as instant messaging, texting and Facebook, is up across the board, e-mail usage is falling off. The number of unique visitors to Hotmail, Yahoo! and other top sites has dropped 6% overall from its peak in November 2009, and fallen 18% among 12-to-17-year-olds. Gmail, with a 10% growth rate, is the exception to this trend.

But now there is mobile email

MediaPost presented additional data from a ComScore report which shows the online population is getting into the mobile e-mail habit.  Mobile e-mail use was up 36% with a 40% boost in daily usage.  Compare that with the previous news item which showed a modest decline in Web-based products. The trend was most pronounced among users aged 12 to 17 (because Mom and Dad can’t monitor their usage as easy??). Among that group, time spent on Web-based e-mail clients dropped 48% and page views dropped 53%. But keep all of this in perspective — e-mail remains a leading Web activity with 153 million U.S. users accessing e-mail on the Web during November.

News U Can Use – November

Here are your media/advertising News U Can Use items for November:

These news items are brought to you by Kuk & Baldwin:

PIZZA FACTS. Did you know that some 3 billion pizzas are sold in the US every year?  The source article doesn’t say whether that figure includes frozen pies at grocery stores – but if we assume 75% or nearly 2.3 billion are ready-to-eat pies cooked up by 69,000 pizzeria outlets, that’s an average of over 33,000 pies per outlet a year.   At an average of about $12 a pie, that’s close to a $28 billion-a-year market, for an average of $400,000 plus a year per outlet in pizza revenue.   Of course, many of the smaller outlets you deal with will not be close to that revenue figure, but it can be a goal to advertise toward.   After all, 93% of Americans confess to eating at least one large pizza a month (Restaurant News).

AFTERMARKET SWEET SPOT. That’s the term for the segment of US cars on the road that can generate the most revenue to the auto repair and auto parts industries.   The sweet spot comprises vehicles 5 to 10 years old, the time period in which they have the most parts replaced and/or serviced – and it currently numbers about 90 million vehicles (up 400,000 from last year).   The 90 million figure is approximately a third of all the cars and light trucks on the road.   So at an average of a little over two cars per US household, if an area with 40,000 households has 80,000 vehicles, some 27,000 would be in the aftermarket sweet spot.   That kind of local figure is a good one to have handy when you’re talking to an auto repair shop or an auto parts dealer about YP advertising (,

ELECTRONIC EYES. Bifocals and progressive lenses have long provided a solution for presbyopia, which makes focusing on close-up objects difficult and affects people over 40 – but many wearers have trouble adjusting to these lenses.   Now, an optometrist has brought to market electronic eyeglasses that look like ordinary glasses but contain a rechargeable battery, microchip, and motion detector that work to automatically “adjust the prescription” to the wearer’s position, distance, etc.   The initial cost will be about $1000, just 20-25% above high-end frames with progressive lenses (Bloomberg Business Week.

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Other recent media/advertising news:

Things can’t be all that bad — Super Bowl ads sell out

Maybe things aren’t so bad in the advertising world — Fox recently reported that it has sold out of advertising time for February’s broadcast of the Super Bowl.  Ads are believed to be between $2.8 million and $3 million for a 30-second spot. The news of the sellout is the earliest for an previous game, and this with the potential teams that will play in the game still very much up in the air right now. Marketers advertising in the game are believe to include Anheuser-Busch InBev, PepsiCo, E-Trade and automotive marketers Kia Motors, Hyundai and Audi.   (Link)

More positive advertising media trends – Global ad spend rose 13% in first half of 2010

Global ad spending surged 13% during the first half of the year, to $238 billion, according to Nielsen measurements discussed in a recent AdWeek articles. North American ad spending rose about 5% during the time frame. Television showed the largest gain by media platform; it was up nearly 16% and accounted for 62% of all ad spending worldwide. (Link)

Magazines ads are up for second quarter in a row

Ad pages in U.S. magazines showed growth for the second straight quarterly period, rising 3.6% in Q3, the Publishers Information Bureau has reporting. More than 130 titles posted increases in ad pages, compared with 25 for the same quarter last year. Some of the best performers in the third quarter included Elle Décor (56.2% more ads); Time Inc.’s People StyleWatch (54% rise), and Conde Nast’s Glamour (36.6% increase). (Link)

But traditional media still struggling

If you believe research from 24/7 Wall St. and Harris Interactive, traditional media is in trouble.  Newspapers are struggling with circulation and magazines like Newsweek are being sold for $1.  While two-thirds of Americans (67%) still agree that they prefer to get their news in more traditional ways such as network television and/or reading newspapers or magazines in print, over half of Americans (55%) say traditional media as we currently know it will no longer exist in ten years.  Additionally, half of US adults (50%) say they tend to get almost all their news online.

Additionally, in looking at the amount of time people are spending with print media, one-quarter of adults say over the past year, the time they have spent reading newspapers in print and reading magazines in print has declined (25% vs. 23% respectively).  Conversely, three in ten adults (28%) say the time they have spent visiting online news and information sites has increased over the past year.

One reason traditional media should be worried is that media consumption and attitudes towards media are very different by age.  Only one-third (33%) of those 55 and older say they tend to get almost all their news online compared to almost two-thirds (65%) of those 18-34 years old.  And, while four in five of those 55 and older (81%) prefer to get their news in more traditional ways, just over half of 18-34 year olds (57%) feel the same way.

Besides traditional print media, network television also has to face a similar battle from both people watching more television online and watching more cable television shows.  Currently, two-thirds of Americans (67%) say they watch television shows primarily on television, while just 5% watch them primarily or mostly on their computer.  If this is broken down further by age, again, there is a large difference with over four in five adults 55 and older watching primarily on television (84%) compared to less than half of those 18-34 (48%).

To read the full release, with tables, go here:  link

Broadband access is still an issue in the U.S.

Everyone has easy access to the Internet, right?  Well, not really – MediaPost reports that the a “digital divide” still exists in the U.S., where more than one-third of households do not have broadband connections and 25% of households have no Internet access at all.  The results come from a study by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration has found. Not surprisingly income is big divider — more than nine in 10 households with $100,000 or more in annual income have broadband in their homes, but just over one in three of homes with $25,000 or less in income do. Geography is also important – two in three urban homes have high-speed access, compared with slightly more than half of those based in rural areas. (Link)


News U Can Use – September

These news items are brought to you by Kuk & Baldwin:

WHAT RESTAURANT PATRONS WANT. A marketing survey for the restaurant industry by the NPD Group set out to find what benefits would lure patrons back into dining rooms – and based on extensive patron interviews, it concluded that restaurateurs should consider the following:  (1) promote extra conveniences such as free transportation service; (2) promote freshness of ingredients and good value; (3) offer dishes that can’t be made (or can’t be made easily) at home; (4) determine how their clientele views “affordability”; and (5) “tout” (i.e., market and advertise) the total service experience (Restaurant News, 8/9/10).

SECURITY REVIVAL. Remember fallout shelters from the 50’s?   Well, they’re back (sort of) in the form of underground living shelters to survive natural disasters.   Crime is the real fear, though.   Stats compiled by Rutgers show that home alarm systems ($300 and up) do decrease crime – but 90% of people with alarm systems don’t arm them when they’re home,   giving no protection against the new criminal trend of home invasion.   Invasions have sparked handgun sales, though ($400 and up).   Also big sellers are tasers (where allowed) at about $350; various electronic anti-car theft devices, up to $1000; and window coatings that make glass virtually unbreakable, at a whopping $25 a square foot (Newsmax, 9/10).

STILL BUYING. In an extensive consumer household survey in June (which included a question that asked whether the household had over $100,000 of income), the researchers determined the following planned purchases over the next 6 monthscomputer, 12% of all households and 18% of $100,000-plus households; car or light truck (new or used), 11% of all households and 14% of $100,000-plus households; TV set, 10% of all households and 11% of $100,000-plus; home improvement or repair, 7% and 14%; major home appliance, 6% and 10%; and one or more digital cameras, 6% and 6% (Next, 7/12/10).

COMPUTER FIX. For most of us, getting a hiccupping computer working again has a few downsides – like lugging it to the shop, or paying extra for a “house call,” or the frustration of trying to follow directions over the phone.   But now, many problems can be solved remotely online – i.e., techs can diagnose problems, get rid of viruses and annoying error messages, increase computer speed, and deal with other software problems.   Obviously, physical issues such as a malfunctioning keyboard can’t be fixed remotely, but a YP advertiser who can do remote work should list all the major problems he can fix (Personal Journal, 7/22/10).

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Other recent media/advertising news:

It’s that time of year again…

According to this year’s American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, the average American family will spend about $550 on back-to-school items this year.  Some more details:

  • 80% of consumers with children in pre-school through high school expect to spend either the same (41%) or more (39%) compared to their spending last year
  • 94% of parents say they’ll look for ways to stretch their dollars:
    • 76% buying sale or clearance items
    • 63% clipping coupons or watching for store promotions
  • Parents are spending on the following categories:
    • 88%, clothing
    • 86%, shoes
    • 85%, school supplies
    • 34%, electronics
    • 45%, cosmetic services
    • 37%, beauty products
  • Extracurricular spending will also occur:
    • 35% will have kids play sports (spending an average of $150)
    • only 12% will enroll kids in music lessons (the most expensive extracurricular area, costing an average of $280).

Publishers still can’t raise price for online display ads

Mediaweek reports that Internet display ads are still commanding a lower CPM than four years ago, despite some improvement over the past year.  Solbright, a Web publishing firm says that CPMs increased 9% during the first half of 2010 compared with 2009, it reports. But, the average CPM has fallen by about $6 since 2006, due in part to increasing inventories.

New York Times:  Print revenues decline outpaces digital growth in Q3

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that fellow newspaper publisher New York Times Co., (papers include the New York Times, Boston Globe and International Herald Tribune), will post a loss for the third quarter, per their CEO Janet Robinson. The news follows a slowdown in revenues from digital ads and a continued decline in print advertising dollars. The company’s digital ad business should increase 14% for the quarter, while print revenue will drop by roughly 5%, the company said.

What are we really doing online?

We always seem to be hearing that we’re all online, all the time.  But where is our online time actually spent?  According to new data from Nielson, 40% of U.S. online time is spent on just three activities:  social networking, playing games and emailing.

  • 22.7% of U.S. Internet time is spent on social networking (906 million hours)–a 43% rise from last year
  • 10.2% of U.S. Internet time is spent on games (407 million hours)
  • Only 8.3% of U.S. Internet time is spent on email (329 million hours)– a 28% decline from last year
  • 36% of online time is spent communicating (social networks, blogs, personal email and instant messaging).

Notice “shopping” for local products and services doesn’t seem to be as big a thing as some would like you to believe it is.

Study: Mobile phones are the first stop for some shoppers

MediaPost/Online Media Daily reported that so far only a small segment of consumers prefer to shop using their mobile devices, according to a report from Millennial Media and comScore. Among the 8% of survey respondents who use their phones for shopping, 27% said they had shopped via only mobile during the previous month, while the rest reported spreading their spending among mobile, in-store and online.