If there was any doubt that the traditional print media industry is in trouble, new statistics from Nielsen paint a very clear picture of that trouble (via BrandWeek).

Let’s put it this way — without companies buying advertising space in print publications, those publications are going to have a very hard time staying in business.

Check out the stats from the Nielsen research below.  In 2009:

  • Real estate brokers cut print advertising by 36%
  • Financial brokerage services cut print advertising by 35%
  • Hotels and resorts cut print advertising by 31%
  • Automobile insurance companies cut print advertising by 26%
  • Auto and light truck dealerships cut print advertising by 23%

How do those numbers compare to overall advertising spending in 2009?  Check out those stats from Nielsen below:

  • Overall ad spending dropped by 9%
  • National magazine ad spending dropped by 19.3%
  • Newspaper ad spending dropped by 13.7%

So where were those advertising budgets (or what was left to them after the recession) spent in 2009?  Two words:

Digital media

And check out the ad budget shifts in 2009 from traditional print media to digital media by well-known brands:

  • Re/Max cut its print advertising spending by 53%.
  • Hertz Car Rental cut its print advertising spending by 58%
  • State Farm cut its print advertising spending by 55%
  • E-Trade cut its print advertising spending by 47%.

Now, let’s take a look on the flip-side.  How has digital advertising spending fared in recent years?

  • In 2008, digital advertising spending rose by a massive (and clearly unsustainable) 114.5%.
  • In 2009, digital advertising spending rose by 1.5%.

So what do all of these numbers tell us?

  1. First, it’s important to understand that not all of the money cut from print advertising budgets shifted directly to digital advertising.
  2. Second, the growth in digital advertising prior to the recession was inflated and will level out in the not too distant future.
  3. Third, most of the marketers interviewed in connection to the Nielsen study stated that digital media is simply more effective for their brands, but print media still has a place in their marketing plans.

In other words, traditional print media isn’t dead yet, but numbers don’t lie.  The buzz you hear about newspapers and magazines struggling is very accurate.  While the online world is cluttered, there are many Authoritative Content publishers, like those whose content is syndicated by Newstex, that make digital media a reliable and viable source for news, information, and more.  Advertisers know that’s where customers are spending time.  The question is how will the media landscape look 5 years from now?  What about 1 year from now?

What do you think?

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