There has been much controversy surrounding a move by The Wall Street Journal to accept advertising on Page One. Soon, The Journal will also “downsize” the dimensions of its print version to offset increased overhead.

These moves underscore the need to cauterize revenue declines, for the print version, in the face of falling circulation. The Journal does not stand alone as the New York Times is also facing downsizing.

Note: Critics against Page One advertising claim it will somehow lessen the integrity of the national newspaper, maintaining the need for separation of “church and state”. Have these critics taken a few moments to examine the ads that appear on the Home Page of their Internet counterparts? What makes an ad on Page One more disingenuous than and ad on the Home Page?

Most, if not all, of this maneuvering stems from the tremendous and increasing appetite for news delivered via the Internet. Print, in almost all forms, is suffering circulation declines. The downward trend will continue for some time.

Fortunately, traditional media giants are recognizing the need to integrate digital versions into their product suites. Rupert Murdoch is leading that charge for News Corp. while The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal Internet editions are experiencing surging revenue increases.

Managing cost containment on one side while investing on the other is a short-term solution to a long-term problem. The business model for an integrated company like the WSJ must change radically.

Radical Solution for The Wall Street Journal: Force a downward circulation base for the Journal by increasing the subscription cost for the printed version to $2500 ($10 / copy newsstand), eliminating all but the cream of the reader crop while, at the same time, increasing the CPM for these readers to increase margins. Ramp up the Internet ad rates, allowing for increases in unique visits and an extension for mobile delivery options.


Can today’s CEO’s cope with or even understand the shifting sands of digital media?

The largest media giants have been taken by surprise as young, empowered entrepreneurs sway the young, tech savvy consumer to social networking sites like YouTube and MySpace.

Although these powerhouse sites, capturing millions of users each day, have begun to overshadow even the major portals, and they have yet to introduce a business model that will wow! Wall Street, it becomes crystal clear that media is now a dynamic and fluid environment that will not bow to the traditional formats.

Keeping pace with almost rapid-fire changes in media delivery channels has the major media brands scrambling to grab their share of the future.

News Corp is still trying to understand what the tiger-by-the-tail, with its MySpace acquisition, is all about. It’s NOT your father’s newspaper anymore!

MTV is looking over its shoulder at YouTube, looking for its own version as it cries “video is our expertise …. We’re looking at acquisitions and builders”. And by the time it makes an investment, we are already onto yet another platform programmed by a few whiz kids in a garage.

With few exceptions, the visionaries in our business have strayed off their path. The next play and the play after that in the digital game is about the consumer …. the ability to easily search a world of information / entertainment and control the way it’s received…. paid or otherwise.

We can wrap the delivery of that information in a fancy package complete with ad messages …. and it will matter less. What will matter is how the commercialization of the delivery channel, whatever it may be, is accepted. That is the Holy Grail that today’s CEOs should keep their eyes on.

Shedding traditional methods can be a difficult and sometimes an impossible task when corporate America needs to be accountable to stockholders breathing down their necks. Most are averse to risk-taking, especially when risk is placed squarely on the shoulders of those who might be half, or even one third the CEOs age. I’ll proffer, however, that clinging to old ways saw the downturn in Newspaper, Magazine and TV revenues and glacial, albeit late, shifts in strategy to downsize the old to make room for the new.

Digital media will displace, not replace, traditional media. It will also play a major role in defining what advertising is and is not.
Fuggetabout IT !

The newest eBay ad campaign touts “Whatever it is, you can get it on eBay” in a variety of boring commercials.

In my book, IT always stood for Information Technology and was originally promoted as such in an ad campaign by Fortune Magazine in the early 90’s. Fortune positioned the magazine against a business / technology community with phrases like ….

What is IT?
Who wants IT?
Where is IT?
How can I get IT?

…. in both print ads and video shorts.

And just recently, Gatorade launched its version with “Gatorade IT”. “It’s here, it’s everywhere.”

We’ll I’m not buying IT. It is now about as overdone as “the art of….” tagline in countless ads.

Will the real creative geniuses step forward, give IT up and come up with more creative approaches.

Oh…by the way …. Type into your browser and you’ll wind up in the eBay, Italy domain!!


The posting of a billboard in Amsterdam for Sony's Playstation with a controversial image and the copy .... "Playstation Portable. White is coming.", is unquestionably not for the US market.

It is the first in a series of many images that play on the choice between a black or a white case for the PSP. Clearly a creative, if not brilliant, debut for Sony's campaign will evoke emotion. Sometimes harsh, sometimes quizzical and often shock and outrage.

One comes to realize the creative genius as the series of images plays out ... sometimes Black as the aggressor and sometimes White as the aggressor.

Kudo's to the creative team at TBWA and the marketing team at Sony.