For the first three quarters of 2007, pharmaceutical firms'
spending on newspaper advertising plummeted, to $57 million from $84 million
for the same period in 2006. Why is newspaper spend drying up?
EVP, general manager,
The decline in newspaper spend in 2007, on the surface,
appears to mirror both the decline in DTC spending (especially in Q3) and the
decline in ad revenue being suffered across the newspaper industry. Within DTC, as brands' strategies
evolve year-to-year, the decision to incorporate newspaper media is driven by
the immediacy of the medium. If a
brand has urgent news, there are few media that can disseminate the message
more rapidly than newspapers; if a brand's strategy is focused on
brand-building, then papers are typically inefficient for this purpose, as
sustainability of the message is difficult to achieve in this medium.
Ironically, of the major ad spending industries, pharma, with its traditional
target of 50+, is the one industry where newspapers should be performing
strongly, as this demographic is one of the few that still relies on newspapers
for their daily source of news.
Managing partner, president of consumer and e-business,
Historically, pharma has used newspapers to deliver
corporate messages and brand news to the public, Wall Street and thought
leaders, since they reach a mass audience and have short lead times. However,
only 3% of DTC spending was doled out for newspaper advertising. In 2007, we
saw a massive overall decline in newsworthy brand dissemination and corporate
advertising spending. We've found
that as consumers increasingly personalize their information needs, using RSS
feeds and customized news pages like iGoogle, both newspapers and the pharma
industry will need to adapt to this evolving news-gathering environment and
find innovative ways to get the messages out.
CEO, TBWA World Health
While newspaper spend may have declined by a third, parallel
expenditures in the online space escalated at an even higher rate. This
trade-off makes complete sense: Print as a DTC media vehicle was historically
intended to provide a greater depth of information than TV and to ensure that
the complex information could be processed and understood. Recently, as
consumer trust of online information has increased, Americans now turn to the
internet as their primary source for health information, and use the internet
in the same way that they used to use print. Further, newspaper as a specific
vehicle was historically used as an indirect way to reach investors. With
scrutiny on DTC ROI (ensuring every insertion drives acquisition or retention)
those investment-related strategies are being abandoned for lower cost/higher
return media options.
Jason E. Klein
President and CEO,
Newspaper National Network LP
Pharmaceutical spending in newspapers has had extremely wide
swings in the past few years.
Spending peaked in 2006 at $120 million with a 15% gain, plus we have
seen gains again in 2008 led by the cholesterol category. No other medium can provide the quick
turnaround and broad reach and impact of newspapers, particularly given the
hurdles in producing a television commercial. Campaigns have often been fairly substantial covering the
top 25 to 40 markets with multiple insertions. In the fourth quarter of 2006
five brands—Bristol-Myers Squibb/Otsuka America's Abilify, GlaxoSmithKline's
Advair, Merck's Propecia and Pfizer's Viagra and Lipitor—spent almost $60
million per TNS Media Intelligence.