BRINGING PRINT AND INTERNET TOGETHER

Byline: Janet Ozzard

NEW YORK — Print media and the Internet don’t have to be adversaries. With the right marketing and a few gadgets that will make a Web surfer say “Cool!” both can benefit.
That was the message at a Magazine Publishers of America seminar held at the organization’s headquarters here on April 12. The panelists — Chris Lambiase, senior vice president and publishing director of the financial magazine SmartMoney, and David Morris, publisher of Entertainment Weekly, along with moderator Jeff Leibowitz, chief executive officer of the Laredo Group, which specializes in market research and management consulting for Web companies — agreed that both media can work well together.
But Leibowitz cautioned, “There is no silver bullet. That’s the first thing all my clients come to look for. But in this medium, everything is a function of everything else. The type of content will have an impact on the kind of advertising you have.”
And advertising will come. While Leibowitz said that ad spending will hit $8 billion, “and some say closer to $10 billion,” on the Internet in the next few years, he also noted that many of the statistics and predictions around Internet businesses tend to end up being too low. “Internet can deliver the reach and the tonnage of TV now,” he emphasized. Some market research even indicates that TV, and not print, is losing eyeballs as viewers surf the Net more and the channels less.
To reach potential consumers online, he said, advertisers have to understand the differences between TV viewing, which is a passive activity, and Internet surfing, which is interactive, multi-tasking, user-controlled and personal. At the same time, online advertisers are flying blind since many of the standard tools of ad buying don’t yet apply in cyberland.
“There is no standard yet for measuring what an ad impression is and what a page view is,” Leibowitz said.
Leibowitz said that too many advertisers approach the Net “from the top down,” with business plans that start with generalizations on estimated investment. “That might have worked a few years ago, but there are now thousands of sites on the Web,” he said. Executives should be considering criteria like the number of unique visitors, the length of time people spend on a site and the number of pages viewed per visit.
So what’s the connection to print? Lambiase offered the example of his publication, SmartMoney, which was launched as a joint venture between Dow Jones and Hearst five years ago. Its Web site appeared two years ago.
“To launch our site, we referred to it constantly in the magazine,” said Lambiase. “Whenever we would talk about a certain topic, like retirement, we would mention the site.”
One of SmartMoney’s “cool” factors is a new technology called DigiMark, which enables information to be transferred from print to computer with the reader’s help. With DigiMark, a chip can be embedded in a print page, whether inside an ad or an editorial piece. If the reader holds the page up to a video camera connected to a computer, the chip will communicate an appropriate Web address, down to a specific page on the site, to the computer. The process saves the consumer from having to search the Web for a specific piece of information.
Lambiase added that he thinks video cameras will soon be standard issue with computers.
“There are six million video cameras out there right now,” he said. To prompt that number to rise, SmartMoney will run a promotion that will give away 25,000 video cameras later this year.
As publisher of Entertainment Weekly, Morris said the Internet has turned into a hot property after being an unknown for years. He recalled a time about five years ago when an advertiser who had been put into the magazine’s growing cyber coverage demanded a make-good.
“But just putting the magazine online doesn’t work,” he said. Entertainment Weekly tries to get onto other sites as well. It has links on CDNow, the music e-tailer with a target audience very close to EW’s. There are other ways to cross-promote, he said. For example, EW in its magazine will urge readers to go to the Web site to vote on questions such as “Who was the best TV mom?” An advertiser could buy a spot on that print page and also sponsor the Web voting feature.