PaperChain – the association-driven marke ing effort for the free paper industry – has recently released results of a survey aimed at measuring free paper appeal to major media buyers. The results are very promising.
Accompanying this article is a summary report of the survey along with some commentary from Tim Bingaman of Circulation Verification Council. Tim and CVC have long worked hard to sell major ad buyers on the strengths and advantages of utilizing free papers; his comments on the survey and the comparisons provided to the 2008 poll are especially insightful and based on years of working closely with publishers and advertisers.
“With 90% now saying they have experience placing ads in free papers it looks like your FPI (ed.- free paper industry) may have turned the corner on general acceptance. It’s pretty rare that we hear the, “my client prefers to buy paid publications” statement anymore. When reviewing some old data I think it’s interesting to note that between 2002 (the first study) and 2008 (the second study) the score remained flat at 65%. It appears that attitudes have been changed recently as the score has increased 25 percentage points in that time. It correlates well with what we have heard from the media panels at the association meetings and with the increased media searches we see on the free papers.”
“It appears that there were a few more major buyers in this survey as evidenced by an 8% jump in those that reported they made national buys in radio, TV and outdoor. There was a 20% jump in those that reported they purchase print nationally. Regional print buyers remained un- changed for media other than print. There was an increase of 13% more reporting they make regional print buys. There were big increases (about 19% weighted) in those that reported they purchase state & local media.”
“The 2014 study had far more active “media buyers” than previous surveys. Media directors remained pretty much unchanged at 26% vs. 21%, but active media buyers increased from 18% to 41%. Media coordinators remained unchanged at 8% while media planners saw a big jump at 12% to 30%. The 2014 study had more media buyers with longer tenure in the industry. Both 5-10 years and 10+ years increased while those reporting less than 5 years fell from 24% to 12%.”
“I do think there are some tremendous opportunities for free papers that share the same city (not necessarily market) to work together. A couple of well-trained reps working the majors for 5-10 publications in a market could have some impact.”