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Make sure you choose the right online media group

by Jeni Bone on 25 Apr 2009
Globally, magazines are clutching at sales, recognising that readers have moved online. MIAA
We have received copious feedback from readers and advertisers regarding the benefits of online vs print, most calling for a closer look at the interesting claims by some groups of reach and circulation to justify ad rates.

Over the last 12 months we’ve noticed that there has been quite a spat in the Asia-Pacific marine magazine world with one publisher in particular very vocal in its criticism of other boating magazines, while assuring its marine audience of its superior quality and audited circulation.

At TetraMedia we have not paid too much interest. As a group, we’ve been too busy reporting the latest news the hour it happened to worry about publications weeks or months behind.

At last count there were some 70 magazines in the fragmented Asia Pacific marine print market and they are fighting over a shrinking audience, as the industry and consumer markets have voted with their mice and moved online.

One sailing magazine claims in its media pack its readership is six times its circulation – that is six different people reading every copy. Hmmm… In most publishing circles this feat is referred to as the ‘Hair Salon’ or ‘Dr’s Surgery effect’. Not actually reaching your motivated, relevant target market

Maybe you can get away with claims like that in the print world, but its not so easy online where independent metrics judge everyone equally. We look forward to online auditing due in June 2009

Almost 12 years after TetraMedia launched Sail-World.com, print publishers have realised they’d better follow the audience inevitably migrating online.

Mid-year with much fanfare, one marine print magazine group , launched a sailing website, boasting of 'a state of the art website'- 'combined editorial resources' of a raft of marine publications to 'deliver the latest sailing news, race results, boat tests and analysis to our highly targeted readership'.

Apparently, 'no other website and magazine combination can offer the same level of industry experience, knowledge, reach and influence'.

Sounds good! But what has happened since?

In December, that much hyped site published seven repeat seven articles. During the same period – the height of the local racing and marine season – Tetra’s websites Sail-World, Marine Business News and Powerboat-world published 990 articles – 300 of them original features and stories pursued by our journalists.

Now we would not normally demonstrate this competitive bent, but this publisher’s ad rates are pitched mighty close to ours.

And here’s the relevance to advertisers: independent metrics place their site audience at around 1/200 of that of Sail-World, but their banner advertising rates are about equal to Sail-World.

In other words, using the readership ratios, a $400 per month ad package on their site is really worth around $2. Anything more is a gross overcharge.

So if magazine ad manager offers you 'free online advertising', as long as you sign up for a print package, you could take the approach that you are being offered a bonus package worth around $2 per month.

If they are telling you about their wonderful new site, compare it carefully with the TetraMedia sites.

Just think about it, if one just been launched website posts seven or even twenty stories in a month and the other 12 years down the track posts 990 who do you think has their finger on the pulse?

We are sure you will be asking them some hard questions... Last week we heard an ad salesman was saying its better to have only a few stories say five a week, the audience gets confused if there are too many.

Hmmm, I guess you have to say something..

Wonder if next he will be claiming at least six people are crowded around the screen when their site is opened?
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